New Mexicans get to weigh in on how social studies is taught in public schools

By: - September 29, 2021 4:34 pm

(Shelby Kleinhans for Source NM)

The state Public Education Department released new standards for social studies that were prepared by by educators from across New Mexico.

People can read the proposal here. 

“This is the first full review of our social studies standards in 20 years, so it is beyond time for this update,” Public Education Secretary Designate Kurt Steinhaus said. “To keep the curriculum relevant, we regularly review what we’re teaching in every subject and incorporate new developments. In social studies, that includes a fuller understanding of the many cultures that together make New Mexico unique.” 

Anyone can submit written comments about the proposal through Nov.ember 12 at 5 p.m. People are asked to review the work and send their comments online, by mail or fax. 

How to submit feedback:

  • By regular mail addressed to John Sena, Policy Division, New Mexico Public Education Department, 300 Don Gaspar Ave., Room 121, Santa Fe, NM, 87501.
  • By fax to 505-827-6520.

The department will also host a public hearing in Santa Fe on Nov. 12 at Mabry Hall in the Jerry Apodaca Education Building, 300 Don Gaspar Ave.

New Mexico last revised its social studies curriculum in 2001. 

In 2018, state Judge Sarah Singleton ruled that New Mexico has not provided adequate education to public school students.

The Yazzie/Martinez lawsuit set precedent for education reform in the state and PED officials say the new social studies guidelines will align with the court order, “Which required the state to provide students with an education that is culturally relevant for New Mexico, where 46% of the population is Hispanic, 9% is Native American and 34% of households speak a non-English language at home.”

Educators worked with the American Institutes of Research, a company hired by the state to assist with the publication of the standards and get them implemented in schools. 

“The writing team was composed of a tremendously diverse group of educators representing every region of New Mexico,” said John Rodarte, a teacher at San Diego Riverside Charter School in Jemez Pueblo. “The writers relied on the strength of that diversity to create revisions to the standards that mirror our unity as a community of learners in New Mexico. 



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Shaun Griswold
Shaun Griswold

Shaun Griswold is a journalist in Albuquerque. He is a citizen of the Pueblo of Laguna, and grew up in Albuquerque and Gallup. He brings a decade of print and broadcast news experience. Most recently he covered Indigenous affairs with New Mexico In Depth. Shaun reports on issues important to Native Americans in urban and tribal communities throughout the state, including education and child welfare.