Arizona didn't want to learn about Mexican-American history. Florida doesn't need black history. And now New Mexico is considering saying thanks, but no thanks, to the Hispanic Education Act proposed by Gov. Bill Richardson. The New Mexico Sec. of Public Education Veronica Garcia says the law would aim at boosting the graduation rates of Hispanic students, which is currently at 56%.
Garcia said the proposal would be modeled on the state's Indian Education Act of 2003.
That act created an Indian Education Division in PED and an Indian Education Advisory Council. The division helps school districts and tribes plan and implement curricula in native languages, culture and history.
Despite the act, the graduation rate for Native American students is worse than for Hispanic students at just under 50 percent.
But Garcia credits the act for improvement in Native American math and reading scores over the past five years.
The number of Native American fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth graders who were at or above proficient has doubled or more than doubled. Native American students also saw their reading test scores rise during that period, according to state statistics.
But the percentages of Native American fourth and eighth graders scoring at or above proficient from the 2004-05 school year through the last school year still were less than students from other ethnic groups.Despite residing in a state where 56% of students are Hispanic, Rep. Dennis Roch, a Republican and assistant superintendent at a NM school says he'd "...hate to see us get in the situation where there's a separate act for every subgroup".