Gov. signs executive order to create Office of Special Education
With a stroke of her pen, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham created the first ever dedicated office for special education in New Mexico through an executive order.
The governor signed this into law in front of the public and several students and staff at Lowell Elementary School, in Albuquerque on Thursday afternoon.
This new Office of Special Education will operate within the Public Education Department to ensure that school districts are providing the best possible special education services that align with state and federal laws.
Lujan Grisham, who herself saw her parents and now her children struggle to find the right resources when it came to special education, said it is time for the state to put these students and their needs first.
“Students know that we are clear about giving them everything they desire and need, it’s both. Parents are clear that we will move heaven and Earth to get the right services in all of the right places and schools, superintendents, educators and all of the leadership know that we’re going to have to remove some interesting barriers and that we’re all in it together, it's not a, pointing a finger one place or another, but realigning our focus here.”
In addition to the executive order creating the Office of Special Education, it also directs the Public Education Department to require special education professional development for a wider range of education professionals, better coordinate special education with the agency, more actively promote the recruitment and retention of special educators, ensure better and more comprehensive data collection of student disciplinary actions, the requirement of state technical assistance to districts and schools and the transfer of special education preschool to the Early Childhood Education and Care Department.
The governor also announced the newly created office is looking for a director and her administration is launching a national search.