Details on PED “enforcement” of new social studies standards

The following questions regarding New Mexico’s new social studies standards were posed by an elected official to Dr. Arsenio Romero Secretary of New Mexico’s Public Education Department. We believe the responses are of interest to school boards and parents who may be concerned about what is being taught to their children.

  • Does our school district have to adopt from the approved PED suggested social studies curriculum list?

High-quality instructional materials (HQIM) and professional development for teachers to be able to use those HQIM matter for students and provide equitable access to grade level instruction no matter what level they are starting from.  The legislature made an appropriation this legislative session (2023) for instructional materials as part of the State Equalization Guarantee (SEG) as well as a special appropriation for instructional materials.  Given these appropriations, school districts may select instructional materials that are not included on the adopted multiple list.  If your district does not select instructional materials that have been reviewed and adopted by PED, then we encourage you to have a rigorous review and selection process at the local level using a research-based rubric(s).  You can learn more about the state instructional material review process  here.

  • When is the deadline to adopt?

Although there isn’t a deadline to adopt new instructional materials, the NM adoption cycle recommends LEA’s purchase social studies and fine arts instructional materials for use in SY23/24. There is a cycle to assure that materials are considered for refresh on a continual basis.  LEA’s may adopt new instructional materials based on their local needs.

  • When will the new materials be implemented?

Districts can make their own local decisions about when to implement new materials; however, they should be implementing the new social studies standards in SY23/24.  If districts don’t purchase new instructional materials that are aligned with the revised social studies standards and the fine arts standards then teachers may need support with supplementing their current materials to ensure students are receiving instruction based on all the grade-level standards.

  • Does the school district have to attend all PED offered DEI trainings?

The Acronym “DEI” is unfamiliar, so the following answer is regarding the professional development modules PED has made available for free to all districts to support the implementation of the new Social Studies Standards.  The following table provides a summary of the modules.  The state-wide Implementation Plan offers a suggested timeline for effective implementation and was provided to districts in early 2022.

Module Educator “I can” objectives
Module 1: New Mexico Social Studies Standards 101 Identify the purpose of academic standards and the difference between standards and curriculum.

Identify the structure of the new social studies standards.

Module 2: Instructional Shifts in the New Standards Identify instructional shifts of the new social studies standards.

Shift current instruction to align with the new social studies instructional shifts.

Module 3: Culturally and Linguistically Responsive Teaching and Learning Define what Culturally and Linguistically Responsive Teaching and Learning is and understand its purpose.

Make connections between student discourse and culturally and linguistically responsive teaching and learning.

Module 4: Best Practices in Social Studies Identify research-based best practices in social studies.

Examine current classroom practices and how I can embed best practices in classroom instruction.

Module 5: Planning for and Making Sense of Inquiry Define inquiry and the inquiry arc.

Explain how inquiry is at the heart of disciplines within social studies.

Construct compelling and supporting questions and explain how they connect to the inquiry arc.

Module 6: Unpacking the Content and Skills in the Standards Identify the definition and purpose of standards “unpacking.”

Explain the process of unpacking standards.

Unpack my own grade level standards.

Module 7: Utilizing Best Practices in Discourse to Discuss Difficult Topics Identify tools that can be used to create safe spaces to discuss difficult topics.

Identify open versus settled issues.

Analyze components of high-quality conversations around difficult topics.

Module 8: Scaffolding Inquiry and Learning Through Questioning Examine how the inquiry arc is present in the New Mexico Social Studies standards and why thinking about inquiry as a process is critical for student learning.

Explain how to ask students more complex questions and how to get students to ask more complex questions.

Explain how to use inquiry to effectively integrate primary sources into instruction.

Module 9: Performance- Based Assessment in Social Studies Identify examples and non-examples of high quality performance assessments.

Evaluate the quality of sample inquiries using a performance assessment rubric.

Compare and contrast three types of rubrics that can be used to give students feedback on performance assessments.

Module 10: Creating Collaborative Civic Spaces Examine data that highlights some of the challenges to creating collaborative civic spaces.

Explain the role of teachers and students in building collaborative civic spaces.

Module 11: Designing Meaningful Action Explain the “understand, plan, act” process to help students plan to take informed action.
Module 12: Implementation Case Studies Evaluate the instructional shifts I have made to implement the New Mexico Social Studies Standards and how they have impacted student learning.

Articulate my own journey to implement the New Mexico Social Studies Standards.

  • Do we have to read the free profession development books PED sends us?


  • Can the parents and community have the opportunity to review the schools district’s top choices before the school board adopts?

Yes, per statute 22-15-8-B, parents and community members are required to be notified about the adoption process and parents are to be invited to be involved in the adoption process at the district level.  See below.

“Local school boards shall give written notice to parents and other community members and shall invite parental involvement in the adoption process at the district level.  Local school boards shall also give public notice, which notice may include publication in a newspaper of general circulation in the school district.”

  • Can the district choose to pick curriculum that meets the standards but is not recommended by PED

Although districts may select instructional materials that are not on the NM adopted multiple list as either “recommended” or “recommended with reservations,” we highly encourage districts to begin their selection process with the adopted multiple list and our “HQIM Reviews” webpage.   Please see the LEA Support for Social Studies Instructional Materials one-page  for additional guidance.

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