New Mexico social studies rule adds personal finance to K-12

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The New Mexico Public Education Department has issued a final rule structuring the K-12 social studies curriculum, adding personal finance following a letter-writing campaign.

The new rule announced Wednesday will overhaul standards for history, economics and civics classes in New Mexico’s public schools. The changes follow a 17-month process in which state officials considered drafts written by school teachers and public comments.

The revised, final standards preserve terms like “privilege or systemic inequity” and a focus on race and ethnicity that opponents equated to “critical race theory.” Supporters of the new standards say they better represent New Mexico’s diversity and will be more engaging to more students.

In a twist, the standards created new sections dedicated to personal finance after an education policy think tank got hundreds of people to write in support of the idea.

Spearheading the effort was Abenicio Baldonado, the education reform director for Think New Mexico. He called the changes “an important first step to tackling intergenerational poverty.”

Local school districts are required to implement the new social studies standards starting in fall of 2023, though some will begin this year. The districts have broad authority over how lessons are structured and what books and educational materials are used.


Attanasio is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on under-covered issues. Follow Attanasio on Twitter.