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Editorial: Doubling AP grads will make the grade for N.M.

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New Mexico and the College Board are making a wise investment in New Mexico’s high school students by spending $1.75 million on the state’s Advanced Placement program.

If New Mexico’s students take them up on the opportunity, they can gain college credit while still in high school without having to shell out tuition dollars. The state, in turn, could gain businesses eager to hire those students when they graduate from college.

It’s the right kind of move for a state struggling with education.

Gov. Susana Martinez says that while 10,900 of this year’s graduating seniors “showed strong potential” to do well in an AP course based on their pre-SAT scores, just 40 percent took an AP class.

That may be the soft bigotry of low expectations, or it could be AP offerings were slim to none.

So the $1 million from the College Board – best-known for its standardized tests – and the $750K from the state ($250,000 more than allocated in previous years) will be used to expand those offerings. The College Board wants a more diverse student population – more Hispanics and American Indians – in the courses; the state wants more students, period.

College Board regional vice president Richard Middleton says “New Mexico has a great opportunity to attract employers in the science and medical fields. We have to create the intellectual horsepower to attract them. An educated workforce brings businesses to the state.”

And that will serve the state – and the state’s students – long after those high schoolers walk the line.

This editorial first appeared in the Albuquerque Journal. It was written by members of the editorial board and is unsigned as it represents the opinion of the newspaper rather than the writers.

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