PED revives push to end ‘social promotion’ in New Mexico schools


 After years of failing to get lawmakers to sign off on her plan to hold back third graders who can’t read well enough, outgoing Gov. Susana Martinez’s administration is giving it one last go.

This time she’s trying to go around lawmakers. Every year, the governor and Republicans tried to get the so-called “Social Promotion Bill” through the Roundhouse, and every time Democrats blocked it.

Now the governor’s education secretary is proposing rule changes to make it happen.    

“This proposal is looking at first graders, second graders and third graders. It’s not about third grade reading, it’s about early literacy for all of our kids,” said Public Education Secretary Christopher Ruszkowski. 

Intervention, tutoring and more communication with parents is part of the plan. The plan also calls for giving parents the option to hold back students who fail their reading assessment tests.

If they go on to the next grade and fail again, they will be held back, regardless of the parents’ feelings.    

Ruszkowski stresses the core of this new proposal is getting parents more involved early on, and letting them know sooner when their child is falling behind. 

The PED will hold forums to get feedback from the public. If the rules are adopted, they could go into effect July 1, without lawmaker approval.

Along with blocking illegal immigrants from getting licenses, ending social promotion has been one of the governor’s signature campaigns since coming into office almost eight years ago .Of course, the driver’s license fight ended with a compromise and a two-tier license system.

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