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House approves bill for texts to parents of struggling students

SANTA FE — The state House overwhelmingly passed legislation Saturday that would direct high schools to text the parents of students who fall behind on their grades or face a big test.

House Minority Leader Nate Gentry, a Republican, and Democratic Sen. Daniel Ivey-Soto, both of Albuquerque co-sponsored the proposal, House Bill 332.

It now goes the Senate, and Gov. Susana Martinez’s approval would also be required.

Gentry said the proposal is a cost-effective strategy that’s been shown to improve student performance.

The text notifications to parents would be required when a high school student’s Grade Point Average falls bellow 2.0 on a 4.0 scale or below 70 percent on a scale that goes to 100.

The notifications would also go out two days before certain tests — “a state-, school-district- or charter-school-required assessment.”

The bill passed 64-3.

“Given the dismal statistics on the status of educational outcomes in New Mexico,” Gentry said in a written statement, “it would be legislative malpractice for us to stand by and do nothing to improve student performance in our state. Text notifications work. The idea has been backed by countless academic studies. It is an easy, low-cost way to help our children succeed.”