New Mexico Coalition for Charter Schools

Vision

Our vision is to drive transformation in education to benefit the diverse needs of students, families, and communities.

Mission

Our mission is to lead and support public charter school quality, growth, autonomy in New Mexico.

Our History

The New Mexico Coalition for Charter Schools ("the Coalition") is a 501(c) (3) not-for-profit corporation formed in May 2002. It is the only state-wide professional organization serving New Mexico’s charter schools. Our mission is to increase student academic achievement by serving charter schools and advocating for charter school quality, growth, and autonomy. Prior to 2002, attempts to organize a collective entity had not been successful, and each charter school operated without support or communication from the larger public charter school community. Guided by a three year strategic plan and operating under a 12 member board of directors comprised of industry and education leaders, we are the leading advocate of charter schools and an important source of technical support and professional development for our teachers, administrators and governing council members.

Public charter schools in New Mexico were first approved by the New Mexico Legislature in 1992. While New Mexico was among the first states to endorse charter schooling, the original legislation was, however, very narrow in scope, permitting only the conversion of existing traditional public schools to charter schools and allowing the charter school very limited control over its finances and hiring of personnel. Because of these weaknesses, very few schools converted to charters, and of those, very few succeeded. By 1998, all but one school had closed.

In 1999, the legislature replaced the first charter school law with a stronger law, allowing for up to 100 charter schools (75 start-up and 25 conversions) within any five-year period. In 2006, working with the Governor and legislature, the Coalition helped to pass Senate Bill 600. Important policy improvements in SB 600 include creating a second authorizer and allowing state-chartered schools to become their own LEA’s. Today, public charter school growth in New Mexico is thriving, with an average of 6 schools opening each year since 2003. Today, more than 11,000 students attend a charter school in New Mexico, joining the approximately 1 million students who attend a public charter school in 40 states. Today, public charter schools are seen as an innovative part of the state’s public education system; more important, they act as the vehicle of reform for the traditional “one size fits all” model of education.