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U.S. Deputy Education Secretary Visits Albuquerque, Highlights Progress of No Child Left Behind


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- U.S. Deputy Secretary of Education Ray Simon, appearing with state education leaders here today at an education policy roundtable, cited progress and challenges facing New Mexico schools in meeting No Child Left Behind goals.

Addressing a group that included state Education Secretary Veronica Garcia, Simon introduced a new tool from the U.S. Department of Education, “Mapping New Mexico’s Educational Progress 2008,” which reports key education indicators for the Land of Enchantment.

“No Child Left Behind changed our national conversation on education forever,” Simon said. “Instead of questioning whether or not all students can learn, thanks to this law, we’re finally beginning to make sure that every child is learning.”

He added, “New Mexico deserves credit for ranking in the top third of states in reading and math. The state is also moving to close the achievement gap between whites and Hispanics at all grade levels.”

Still, he said the state is challenged by a poor student information tracking system. And, New Mexico’s 45.4 percent of schools making adequate yearly progress (AYP) falls below the national average of 70 percent.

A consensus exists, he said, among state and federal officials, business leaders and community advocates that some areas must be addressed now, such as making sure that educators have the best ways to chart student progress and assuring that students who need extra help can access free tutoring.

“We must also remember that without No Child Left Behind, we could not be having a sophisticated conversation like this,” Simon said. “Until this law was passed in 2001, we lacked data to show how students and schools were doing well and where they needed to do better.”

As deputy secretary, Simon is the No. 2 official at the U.S. Department of Education and among other duties, oversees the landmark No Child Left Behind K-12 education reform program. Before joining the Education Department, he was director of the Arkansas Department of Education and a school superintendent in Conway, Ark.


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