I am writing today to announce the closure of the New Mexico Independent. After three and a half years of operation in New Mexico, the board of the American Independent News Network, has decided to shift publication of its news…
Guv announces initiatives to improve high school graduation rates
The state will try to improve its student drop-out rate by expanding a program that employs online courses that help high school drop-outs win credits toward graduation, Gov. Bill Richardson announced Wednesday.
The expansion of IDEAL-NM (Innovative Digital Education And Learning) is meant to help the Public Education Department serve up to 10,000 students that need to make up credits to graduate, according to a press release issued Wednesday from the governor’s office.
The online courses will be provided where there is internet access. Students must go to their high schools to register.
The governor’s announcement comes a month or so after New Mexico’s graduation rates rose slightly in an annual national report that annually tracks how many students in each state graduate high school in four years, but not enough to move the Land of Enchantment from the bottom of national rankings.
The state’s graduation rate climbed to 56 percent for the 2006 school year, from 54.1 percent in 2005, according to Diplomas Count, an annual report that is a joint project between Education Week magazine and the Editorial Projects in Education Research Center.
The slight improvement pushed New Mexico to 48th in graduation rates for the 2006 school year out of 50 states and the District of Columbia. New Mexico was 50th in graduation rates for the 2005 school year, the report showed.
“To sustain New Mexico’s growing economy and workforce, all New Mexican’s must at the very least graduate from high school,” Richardson said in a news release. “We must accept that in the 21st century, to secure a job that will support a family and provide a decent quality of life, a high school diploma is a must.”
Richardson also announced the appointment of a task force that will examine schools that have consistently failed to improve over the last five years. The task force to be headed by public education secretary Dr. Veronica C. García will make recommendations about what New Mexico should consider to improve its persistently low performing schools.
“Incremental gains are good, but not good enough. We must take bold steps in our reform effort,” Garcia said in the governor’s press release Wednesday.
The governor also announced the creation of the Office of Hispanic Education at the Public Education Department. The press release said the office will act as a liaison with the state’s Hispanic community to address the achievement gap, generally understood to mean the difference in educational outcomes between minority and Anglo students.
The press release also announced three Governor Summits later this year on the Achievement Gap. Each summit will have a separate focus on Hispanic, Native American, and African American student achievement to be held in October, November and December.
“The purpose of the summits is three fold: 1) to call attention to educational challenges, 2) to collaboratively arrive at solutions, and 3) to engage parents and community in the process,” the press release said.