Early high school graduation bill passes state House

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SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – A bill that would allow certain New Mexico students to graduate high school early has passed the state House of Representatives.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Alonzo Baldonado, R-Los Lunas, passed the House with a vote of 62 to 5 Tuesday night.

It would allow high school students to graduate early if they take the ACT, SAT, ASVAB or other vocational test and score within the top 20 percent.

The students’ parents or guardians, along with the high school counselor and principal, would have to sign off on the early graduation.

“We want to make sure these kids are mature in the sense that they’re ready to graduate,” Rep. Baldonado said. “If they’re not quite ready to graduate in their path in life, maybe it’s a wise idea to keep them in school until they finish.”

Of the five representatives who voted against the bill on the House floor Tuesday night, KRQE News 13 spoke with one of them Wednesday — Rep. Liz Thomson, D-Albuquerque.

“I would like to have seen a separate academic diploma versus vocational diploma which would have made me happy, and I would have voted for the bill that way,” Rep. Thomson said.

Rep. Thomson said she also would have liked the test score requirement to be the top 10 percent, not 20.

The bill now heads to Senate committees.

In the past, several lawmakers have tried to change graduation requirements, but this is the first time a bill to allow early graduation has been introduced.

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