New Mexico governor signs off on new high school graduation requirements
SANTA FE, N.M. — New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed the first bill approved by state lawmakers this session Friday afternoon. It’s a comprehensive plan to rework high school graduation requirements, giving students and districts more flexibility.
The new framework will begin with the freshman class in the fall of 2025 – so none of these changes will apply to current high school students. Anyone entering high school later this year will also follow the old graduation requirements.
NEW GRADUATION REQUIREMENTS
Here are the biggest changes to know about. Students will still need to earn 24 credits, but Algebra II will no longer be required – although schools must still offer it.
Students will now have to complete four full years of social studies classes, and that must include some personal financial literacy coursework.
There’s also a required semester of health with lessons on sexual abuse, assault, and prevention.
Career technical classes can count toward English, math, and science credits, and local school districts will get to decide on two graduation requirements for their students.
The bill’s sponsors say the goal is to give students more control over their academic outcomes, and that will hopefully encourage more teenagers to stay in class.
“When we’re trying to address absenteeism, it’s really aimed at getting students buy-in, so that they have direction, they know what direction to take, they take the classes that they want to take on the things that they’re interested in learning about,” Rep. G. Andrés Romero said. “When you can engage students on that level, you’re going to get them wanting to come to school.”
Encouraging students to stay in school will also hopefully boost New Mexico’s graduation rate. It’s sitting at around 76% right now – one of the lowest in the nation.
The governor suggested raising those numbers will have a ripple effect across the state.
“We have a workforce shortage, we have a public safety crisis, we have any number of things that the evidence will connect to how well we’re doing in our public education system,” Lujan Grisham said. “So the more we do here, the better all of those challenges can be attenuated.”
Again, the new framework will not kick in until next fall. The class of 2029 will be the first students to graduate under the new requirements.