56th legislature - STATE OF NEW MEXICO - second session, 2024


Joy Garratt and Yanira Gurrola









     WHEREAS, the middle school years represent a crucial and formative period in a student's educational journey, laying the foundation for future academic and career success; and

     WHEREAS, a wealth of educational research underscores the significance of the middle school years in shaping a student's cognitive, social and emotional development, recognizing this period as a pivotal juncture in a student's development and academic trajectory; and

     WHEREAS, middle school serves as a bridge between the elementary and high school levels and is a vital transitional phase when students begin to explore a more diverse and advanced curriculum as they prepare for academic and career pursuits in high school and beyond; and

     WHEREAS, studies consistently highlight the unique role of middle schools in fostering essential skills such as critical thinking, problem solving and effective communication that are foundational to success in both academic achievement and future career pathways; and

     WHEREAS, middle school is a pivotal time for students to explore a broad range of subjects and extracurricular activities, fostering a well-rounded education that nurtures diverse talents and interests; and

     WHEREAS, evidence-based research emphasizes the role of dedicated and skilled teachers in middle schools, as they contribute significantly to students' academic achievements, character development and overall well-being; and

     WHEREAS, emerging brain research shows early adolescence is the second period of immense brain development, and schools can be better designed to be more developmentally appropriate; and

     WHEREAS, data in New Mexico shows that student achievement in mathematics, reading and science and in school engagement begins to decline in middle school years as chronic absenteeism begins to rise; and

     WHEREAS, access to mathematics courses in middle school years, and taking algebra 1 by the end of eighth grade, has been found to be key for students to have sufficient time to take more advanced courses in their high school years, particularly courses related to science, technology, engineering and mathematics pathways; and

     WHEREAS, a positive middle school experience contributes significantly to students' self-esteem, social skills and overall well-being, providing a much more successful transition to high school and beyond; and

     WHEREAS, recognizing the importance of middle school education is integral to ensuring a strong and vibrant future for communities and fostering a society with well-prepared, intellectually engaged and socially responsible citizens;

     NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO that the legislative education study committee be requested to study the structure, curriculum, funding and design of middle schools and make recommendations to the legislature and the governor on methods and means of enhancing the quality of middle school education in New Mexico that equitably serves all students in New Mexico, including those students described in the Yazzie/Martinez lawsuit as students with disabilities, economically disadvantaged students, English language learners and Native American students; and

     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the legislative education study committee be requested to work with a representative group of youth, including representatives that reflect New Mexico's student demographics and the student groups named in the Yazzie/Martinez lawsuit; teacher preparation program leaders, middle school teachers and educational leaders; school counselors and other instructional support providers; school safety and school resource officers; higher education institutions; health professionals; community members; and the public education department in its middle school study; and

     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the legislative education study committee be requested to submit a copy of its research findings and recommendations to the governor and the legislature and to publish its report by December 31, 2024; and

     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that copies of this be memorial be transmitted to the director of the legislative education study committee and the secretary of public education.

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