Achievement, Politics, and Policy Shifts: Expert Report on Achievement for Martínez/Yazzie v. New Mexico

  • Cristóbal Rodríguez Howard University


The achievement levels from 2007 to 2016 in the state of New Mexico demonstrate an educational system that is failing its Hispanic, American Indian, and English learner students. During this period of time, close to 30% of Hispanic students were proficient or above in reading, math, and science, and close to 25% of American Indian students were proficient or above. Moreover, a change in politics that informed changes in curriculum and testing policies during this period of time show lowering proficiency rates and grater disparities between groups. Further and more problematically for a state that is historically bilingual, and as bilingual students tend to be Hispanic and American Indian, English learners in most recent years tested at the lowest levels of proficiency and above. These sobering achievement levels highlighted in this article were used as evidence and as testimony in the expert report in the conjoined educational opportunity cases Martínez v. New Mexico (2019) and Yazzie v. New Mexico (2019), which was a case filed on behalf of underrepresented families and students in New Mexico against the state’s Public Education Department. The result was a landmark decision that decided children in New Mexico indeed have a right to an education and mandated the state to respond immediately to these disparities. Herein are the findings and conclusions from the expert report and testimony from the Martínez v. New Mexico (2019) and Yazzie v. New Mexico (2019) Trial Declaration of Cristobal Rodriguez.