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NM Education Chief Rejects School District Split

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FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — New Mexico’s top education official has rejected a proposal to split a school district made up largely of American Indian students.

State education Secretary-designate Hanna Skandera decision on the Central Consolidated School District came Friday.

The proposal would have split the northwestern New Mexico district at the Navajo reservation boundary, creating two districts each with an overwhelming makeup of Navajos.

Skandera says the proposal could have presented civil rights issues for students living on the reservation. But she says her decision was based largely on teaching students to overcome differences.

The school board president had argued that a split would undo efforts to teach Navajo culture and language in the classroom.

The proponents said a new district could lead to more rigorous curriculum to better help students prepare for college.

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