Senate Bill Would Limit Changes To New Mexico Graduation Requirements

Feb 12, 2014

John Sapien

  Today, Senate Bill 307 (SB307) , designed to assure that New Mexico students are given a clear idea of graduation requirements over their four years in high school, unanimously passed the Senate Education Committee. The bill will now be heading to the Senate Public Affairs Committee (SPAC).

“This bill gives students and parents assurance that the state will not keep changing graduation requirements for students in the middle of their high school careers,” said Senator John Sapien (D-9- Bernalillo & Sandoval), who co-sponsors the bill with Senator Joseph Cervantes (D-31-Dona Ana).

“Our goal is to assure students have predictable high school credit requirements, and maintain a stable curriculum throughout high school education,” Sen. Cervantes said. “This commitment requires consistency for all parents and students of New Mexico public schools. It also avoids the whims of unpredictable obstacles to graduation. ”

The bill requires that a yearly plan be drawn up to explain any differences from previous interim next-step plans and be filed with the principal of the student’s high school. The plan will be signed by the student, the student’s parent and the student’s guidance counselor or other school official charged with coursework planning for the student. A final next-step plan will also be completed under the bill and filed during a student’s senior year and prior to graduation, with the same aforementioned signatures.

Joseph Cervantes

  Additionally, the bill calls for local school boards to have authority over the choice to offer physical education (PE) credits through alternative classes in order to satisfy the PE requirement.

Both senators said they were very pleased to see that the bill received unanimous, bipartisan support and look forward to the next committee hearing. They are hopeful that the bill will continue to gain momentum.