300 Don Gaspar
Santa Fe, NM 87501-2786
Fax: (505) 827-6520

November 12, 2002
e-mail Public Outreach

SBE Seeks Public Comment on High School Reform

(Santa Fe, NM)-The New Mexico State Board of Education (SBE) is seeking public comment on proposed amendments to the Public School Code that will change to 20 the minimum number of units needed to graduate (the current number is 23) and require students in grades 9-12 to prepare a program of study designed around a career/learner pathway. They are part of the SBE's 2003 legislative proposals.

"Our goal is to add value to the high school diploma. These amendments will allow for more flexibility at the local level so that four-year 'career pathways' can be developed for each student," said Lena Trujillo-Chavez, the New Mexico State Department of Education's (SDE) assistant superintendent for career, technical and adult services.

Comments will be accepted through Friday, November 15, to Trujillo-Chavez at (505) 827-6670 (phone), (505) 827-4041 (fax), ltrujillo@ped.state.nm.us or at 300 Don Gaspar, Santa Fe, NM 87501.

The amendments would establish a common set of graduation requirements focused on the state's standards including:

· Eight units of interdisciplinary courses for English and social studies (currently four units in English and three units in social studies are required)
· Six units of interdisciplinary courses for mathematics and science, one of which must be Algebra I (currently three units in mathematics and two units in science are required)
· Six electives focused on an identified career/learner pathway (currently nine electives are required in limited areas).

Eliminated would be required units (one each) of physical fitness and communication skills. Final examinations would no longer be required for all students in all classes offered for credit. But students would still be required to pass a state examination in the subject areas of English, mathematics, writing, science and social science in order to receive a high school diploma.

"New Mexico needs to ensure that our secondary schools are more successful, proactive and responsive. And our students need the ability to secure both a high school diploma and an industry credential," Trujillo-Chavez said. "The amendments will provide students with a sequential program of study that will allow them to progress through their high school careers at a pace that is appropriate for them and reduce the confusion and redundancy many students face when transferring."