In 2014, families and school districts, represented by the New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty and families represented by the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, sued the New Mexico Public Education Department (PED) and the state legislature for failing to provide a sufficient and uniform system of education to all New Mexican children as guaranteed by the education clause of the New Mexico State Constitution. 

The consolidated lawsuit, Yazzie/Martinez v. State of New Mexico challenged the state’s failure to provide students—especially low-income, Native American, English language learner (ELL), and students with disabilities—the programs and services necessary for them to learn and thrive, and challenged the state’s failure to sufficiently fund these programs and services. In 2018, the court ruled that all New Mexico students have a right to be college and career ready and that the state is failing to meet this obligation.

November 22, 2019 Memo Regarding District-and Charter-Level Superintendent’s/Executive Director’s Equity Councils & the Martinez and Yazzie Consolidated Lawsuit.


The NMPED will be pursuing a four-part strategy that will create an effective and equitable system of supports for all students focused on root-cause analysis, equity-focused leadership and continuous improvement, and culturally and linguistically responsive curriculum and pedagogy. To help achieve the goals listed above, districts and charter schools must initially concentrate on the development of the following:

  • establishment of equity councils at each district and charter school;
  • completion of a Martinez and Yazzie readiness assessment to support schools;
  • implementation of a culturally and linguistically responsive (CLR) framework for every school; and
  • submission and implementation of 90-day plans through the New Mexico Data, Accountability, Sustainability, and High Achievement tool (NMDASH) with specific focus on economically disadvantaged students, Native American students, English learners, and students with disabilities.

These four items are required by the NMPED for districts and charter schools to reimagine education so that ALL students are healthy, secure in their identity, and holistically prepared for college, career, and life. Please see "EQUITY IN ACTION".

For more information, please see below:

Leading for Equity: Opportunities for State Education Chiefs



NMPED’s core value of reflection and continuous improvement is a driver for the systemic shift to ensure that diversity, equity and inclusion are further incorporated into our cycles of improvement and practices. NMDASH represents the state’s school educational planning tool (online). It includes a functionality for addressing the needs of at-risk students, including those who are economically disadvantaged, Native American, English learners, or students with disabilities through root-cause analysis. Through submission of one annual and two 90-day plans, districts and charter schools must build leadership capacity to implement and sustain effective evidence-based practices to serve at-risk students with resource allocation aligned to programmatic practices.


Holding students’ identity, culture, and language at the center of our work as a strength is key in the design of our schools and every aspect of our educational system. WHCS implements a culturally and linguistically responsive framework to prepare students for college, career, and life by supporting their identity and holistic development, including social, emotional, and physical wellness, in addition to rigorous academic standards. WHCSs community school model focuses on its holistic indigenous pedagogy which lays the foundation of WHCS’s Mission Statement: "Through a community-integrated experiential learning program, Walatowa High Charter School will prepare students to be academically successful, while promoting cultural awareness, community wellness, leadership, college and career readiness”.

As the WHCS Equity Council completes each of the requirements, information will be posted on this site.  For additional information from the NM Public Education Department (NMPED), please visit https://webnew.ped.state.nm.us/yazzie-martinez%20updates/