After two months of testimony by nearly 80 witnesses, a major adequacy case in New Mexico concluded earlier this month. The trial is expected to last about nine weeks. The case primarily focuses on providing more support for special-education children, English-language learners and students who are economically disadvantaged in a state that ranks near or at the bottom in most national education reports.
The case was brought by the New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund in 2014 on behalf of groups of students, parents and school districts. One group of plaintiffs is asking the court to rule that the state is violating the state constitution by not giving students sufficient resources to succeed, but they would leave it up to state leaders to determine how to remedy the situation. The other plaintiffs want the judge to declare that current funding levels are unconstitutional, and to spell out what the state must to do to fix the problem: among other things they are asking the court to mandate higher salaries for teachers, smaller class sizes, more dual-language programs and full-day prekindergarten classes for all eligible students.
The Court’s decision is expected next fall or winter.