July 13, 2005
New Mexico Public Education Department
300 Don Gaspar
Santa Fe, NM 87501-2786

Beverly Friedman
Public Information Officer

New Mexico History Course
Added to State Graduation Requirements


( Santa Fe) - Beginning with students entering ninth grade in 2005-06 school year, a half credit (.5) of New Mexico history will be included in the state requirements for the 23 units students have to meet in order to graduate from a New Mexico high school.

Districts will determine the grade level and specific curriculum for the course. This new survey course will be developed in school districts to support students becoming more knowledgeable and aware of the historical cultural, economic, and political history of New Mexico and their geographical connections. Students will analyze the role that New Mexico plays in national and international arenas. It will replace a high school elective and will be phased into all New Mexico high school curriculum by 2008. Nine Albuquerque high schools will offer this class for the 2005 school year.

Representative Rick Miera from Albuquerque championed this bill in the 2004 Legislature. “I feel that the study of New Mexico history will provide students who are better citizens of our state,” said Miera. “They will study all aspects of our collective history and be better equipped to provide knowledgeable input into state and local governments as adults.”

“The main concern of teachers, who would be teaching this new course, was to provide them with some specific materials,” said Deputy Secretary for Learning and Accountability Dr. Catherine Cross Maple. “A state curriculum team is developing themes and ideas for the course and teachers and students will have access to a resource website.”

We are encouraging teachers to use critical thinking skills and go to the next level of discussion of New Mexico history,” said Assistant Secretary for Instructional Support Dr. Patricia Parkinson. “We are absolutely excited about the deep and rich history that all students gain in understanding about their state.”

The new course will follow current New Mexico State Standards for History. These resources available to teachers will include access to printed histories and reviews, information from university professors and librarians, and materials from successful New Mexico history teachers.

More Information on this course is available on the LITES website under New Mexico Standards and Graduation Requirements; see http://www.nmlites.org/info/graduation/index.html