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Effort to end ‘social promotion’ revived

A proposal to do away with so-called social promotion in New Mexico public schools will be back on the table for the coming 60-day session.

Two House Republicans – Reps. Monica Youngblood of Albuquerque and Nora Espinoza of Roswell – said Thursday that they have pre-filed a bill mandating that third-graders who do not read proficiently repeat the grade level.

Gov. Susana Martinez has made such legislation a key piece of her educational agenda in recent years, but previous attempts have stalled in the Democratic-controlled Legislature.

Among other arguments, opponents have claimed parents should have the ultimate say in any decision regarding school retention, as is currently the case.

However, a recent Journal Poll found that 74 percent of voters support holding back third-graders who don’t read proficiently, while 20 percent said they opposed the idea.

The bill pre-filed by Youngblood and Espinoza also calls for increased tutoring and other types of assistance for struggling students.

The 2015 legislative session starts Jan. 20.