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Governor, education chief pushing for more parent engagement

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Gov. Susana Martinez wants to make it easier for parents to keep track of what is happening in their childrens’ classrooms.

She announced today that she will ask for $1.2 million from the Legislature to help districts set up websites that include access to grades, homework assignments, class announcements and attendance records. The proposal is being called “New Mexico Parent Connection” and would give districts money to set up the websites. The websites would provide constant feedback for parents.

“When we discuss education reform, we can’t forget the importance of parental involvement; they are the best partner a teacher can have,” Martinez said in a news release. “These parent portals should provide an additional method for parents to actively engage in their children’s school life…We want to help engage parents as much as possible.”

Several school districts, such as Albuquerque Public Schools, Bernalillo Public Schools and Rio Rancho Public Schools, already provide this service to some extent. Larry Behrens, spokesman for the New Mexico Public Education Department, said the state would reimburse districts who already have a parent portal in place.

“It would then free up funds for something else,” he said.

Education chief Hanna Skandera said in a news release she hopes the proposal will bring students, parents and teachers closer together.

“This resource will allow parents to log onto a computer — at any time of the day — to quickly get a picture of how their children are performing in school,” Skandera said in a news release. “With the click of a button, parents can easily view the latest homework assignment, pop quiz, or midterm exam…”

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