Introduction: The Yazzie-Martinez Court Ruling in New Mexico

Introduction.  In the 2018 Yazzie-Martinez case, the New Mexico First Judicial District court declared that the state government has for years been violating its own Constitution and the rights of its citizens by not providing an equitable and sufficient educational system. In a lengthy ruling, the court listed dozens of educational deficiencies in the system, but most specifically focused on how the state "failed to provide at-risk students with programs and services necessary to make them college or career ready."

DEFINITIONS. The court ruling describes children who are placed-at-risk for failure in education as those from economically disadvantaged homes and Native American communities, are English Language Learners (ELLs), and/or are students with disabilities (SWD).

The court also listed the many ways that the state education system has failed its children in public education, such as not providing for sufficient funding or implementation of programs serving at-risk students and for failure to comply with various culture and language clauses in the constitution. As part of its strategy to comply with the court order, the New Mexico Public Education Department (NMPED) also plans to oversee "implementation of a culturally and linguistically responsive (CLR) framework for every school" (Bobroff, K. 2019, p.4). CLR frameworks in education utilize children's home cultures and languages as building blocks for improving the teaching-learning process, as well as for helping students to develop a large array of intellectual, emotional, and social skills.