NM Gov. Signs Nation’s First Hispanic Education Act Into Law
Governor Also Takes Action on Other Education Legislation
SANTA FE–Governor Bill Richardson signed the nation’s first Hispanic Education Act into law. The Act is aimed at improving the educational achievement of New Mexico’s Hispanic students and closing the achievement gap. Lawmakers, educational leaders and community leaders joined Governor Richardson at today’s bill signing at Washington Middle School in Albuquerque.
The Hispanic Education Act was sponsored by Rep. Rick Miera and Sen. Bernadette Sanchez.
“We’ve made progress in increasing student achievement statewide, but the persistent achievement gaps our Hispanic students struggle with are unacceptable. That’s why I am proud to sign this bill,” Governor Richardson said. “I want New Mexico to be the flagship state for leading the movement to close the achievement gap for our Hispanic students.”
The primary purpose of the Hispanic Education Act is to engage the community in a more formal and consistent way in helping to define challenges and address student performance. The Act, includes three main focus areas:
1. Codifies a formal Hispanic Advisory Council that will institutionalize statewide community engagement.
2. Requires the Public Education Department to provide an annual P-20 status report on the state of Hispanic education.
3. Creates a Hispanic Education Liaison to focus on Hispanic education policy, developing a strategic approach to take a dramatic step to close the achievement and graduation gaps, serve as a resource to districts, and liaison to the advisory council to ensure that recommendations are researched and implemented.
“When the majority of New Mexicans are not graduating or are not graduating prepared for college or career, it means a lower tax base to build New Mexico’s future, continued dependence on social programs, higher rates of incarceration and serious health issues that will limit the success of our children. We know that education is the key factor in mitigating these issues. The Hispanic Education gives us one more tool to facilitate change and gives the Hispanic community a seat at the table to help make it happen,” said Education Secretary Veronica C. García.
Governor Richardson also signed HB 227 and SB 134 today.
HB 227, School Board Finance & Audit Committees, sponsored by Rep. Rhonda King, strengthens the financial accountability of schools. It requires that each school board have at least two members with accounting or financial experience and have measures in place to make sure audits are timely.
SB 134, Military Veteran Lottery Scholarships, sponsored by Sen. Bill Payne, extends the time military veterans can take advantage for the Lottery Scholarship upon completion of their military service from 120 days to one year.
Other education bills passed by the legislature during the 2010 regular session and signed by the Governor include:
HB 44 Health Requirement for Graduation
HB 53 Financial Literacy as School Math Requirement
HB 71 Mentorship Requirements for Level 1 Teachers
HB 90 Native American Schools Dual Credit Program
HB 230 Dyslexic Student Intervention
SB 85 School Leadership Institute
SB 111 Additional Teacher Evaluation Standards
Deputy Chief of Staff
Office of New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson
Contact: Danielle Montoya