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UPDATED: Governor Wants More Money for College Preparation

New Mexico high school students will get more access to advanced placement classes and be able to take the PSAT for free under a plan unveiled Wednesday by Gov. Susana Martinez.

Martinez said the budget recommendations to the 2012 Legislature also include more frequent testing to ensure students are learning what they need to know to get into college.

“Today’s students are tomorrow’s workforce,” Martinez said at the University of New Mexico. “When they graduate high school, New Mexico students deserve every advantage to make sure they are successful in college. When our students earn their diploma, they expect to have all the skills they need for college. These reforms will help us deliver on that promise.”

The recommendations call for $4.2 million to fund increased access to AP programs, and $2.5 million for statewide short-cycle tests for more than 180,000 students in grades 4 through 10. Martinez said such tests help teachers identify gaps in learning and adjust their instruction. Some districts already use these tests, but there is no statewide standard.

“These assessments mean our teachers would be able to understand quickly where our students need help and how to adjust instruction before a small deficiency becomes a lifelong struggle,” said Public Education Department Secretary-designate Hanna Skandera.

Funding for increased access to AP programs would mean that school districts could pay all or a portion of test fees for eligible low-income students. Students in the 10th grade also would be able to take the Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test, or PSAT, free.

“These are the tools that will not only help our students attend college, but also make sure they have the best opportunity to graduate,” said Higher Education Department Secretary Jose Garcia. “More students earning college degrees mean more jobs, more opportunity and a brighter future for our state.”

The final part of the Martinez’s proposal calls for $1 million to buy books and instructional materials for students enrolled in dual credit programs, which allow students to earn credits for high school and college at the same time.

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Dec. 28, 2011 4:17 p.m.

By The Associated Press

Gov. Susana Martinez Wednesday unveiled a plan to help thousands of New Mexico students better prepare for college.

At a press conference at the University of New Mexico, the governor said her budget recommendations for the 2012 Legislature will include $4.2 million dollars to fund increased access to advanced placement programs, free PSAT exams for New Mexico 10th graders and more frequent testing to ensure students are learning what they need to know to get into college.

Martinez says New Mexico students deserve every advantage to make sure they are successful in college. She says the increased funding will help deliver on that promise.

 

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