Richardson unveils redesigned high school plan

CNJ Staff

Gov. Bill Richardson last week unveiled his plan to redesign high school education in New Mexico, according to a press release from his office. The initiative seeks to better prepare high school students for college and careers, the release said.

The governor requested the Public Education Department partner with the Legislative Education Study Committee to implement the plan, the release said.

Here are components of the plan:

• Develop a New Mexico High School Diploma of Excellence — The diploma would reward students who pursue a more rigorous course of study, including completion of four advanced placement courses with a grade point average of 3.75, or a score in the top 10 percent of the New Mexico Standards Based Assessment for 11th grade.

• Increase the dropout age from 16 to 17.

• Stiffen graduation requirements — Mathematics standards are the focus of this initiative. Students would be required to obtain four credits in math, and one math credit would be needed to be above the first level of algebra. Also, students would need to complete one advanced placement course, one online course or one dual-enrollment course.

• Create a statewide cyber academy — School districts could purchase online courses for student use.

• Increase funding by $3 million for advanced placement courses and teacher training.

• Increase funding by $3 million for pre-advanced placement courses to target students in underserved areas.

• Change funding for senior year to create incentives for districts to make senior year more meaningful.

• Change the existing Higher Education/Public Education Alignment Taskforce to create a statewide funding framework for students who are dually enrolled in high school and college courses, and eliminate the 10th grade competency exam and replace it with a more meaningful assessment of high school proficiency and college readiness.

The New Mexico Legislature will vote on the initiative in the next 60-day session scheduled for January 2007.