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New Mexico Fights To Get Out Of Last Place With Aggressive Policies That Some Educators Worry Could Harm Students

Ranked near the very bottom of most lists of school performance and near the very top of most rankings of child poverty, New Mexico has gone further than most states in its embrace of high-profile education reforms. The state has linked the new Common Core standards with new exams and ramped up the stakes for teachers and schools, making it an extreme test case for a set of ideas promoted by education reformers, including the Obama administration.

State officials are banking that their aggressive approach will turn around the state’s dismal education record, but, as the third- through eleventh-graders there began testing last month, the immense challenges the state will face in meeting its goals are already apparent.