2011 Delivering Well Prepared Teachers Policy
The state should ensure that social studies teachers know all the subject matter they are licensed to teach.
New Mexico only offers secondary certification in general social studies, which the state calls "history, geography, economics, civics and government." Coursework requirements include 24 to 36 semester hours from any of those areas. Candidates must also pass the NMTA "History, Geography, Economics, Civics and Government" assessment. Teachers with this license are not limited to teaching general social studies but rather can teach any of the specified areas.
Middle school social studies teachers in New Mexico have the option of middle level licensure. Candidates must complete 24 semester hours in social studies and, commendably, must also pass the NMTA "Middle Level History, Geography, Economics, Civics and Government" test. Unfortunately, New Mexico also allows middle school teachers to teach on a generalist K-8 license (see Goal 1-E).
New Mexico Administrative Code 22.214.171.124; 126.96.36.199 New Mexico Teacher Assessments www.nmta.nesinc.com
Require secondary social studies teachers to pass tests of content knowledge for each social studies discipline they intend to teach.
States that allow general social studies certifications—and do not require content tests for each area—are not ensuring that these secondary teachers possess adequate subject-specific content knowledge. New Mexico's assessment combines all subject areas (e.g., history, geography, economics) and does not report separate scores for each subject area. Therefore, candidates could answer many history questions, for example, incorrectly, yet still be licensed to teach history to high school students.
New Mexico recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis.