Martinez targets social promotion of students

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By Barry Massey

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Republican Gov. Susana Martinez and a bipartisan group of lawmakers want to stop promoting public school students to the next grade if they lack required basic skills.

Martinez joined Republican and Democratic lawmakers at a news conference on Thursday in support of legislation to halt the practice of "social promotion."

A House committee has approved two bills that would stop third-graders from moving to the fourth grade if they aren't proficient in reading. Currently, a parent can overrule a school that wants to retain a student rather than promoting them to the next grade. However, that would end under the proposed legislation.

Martinez and legislative supporters say it's critical for students to be able to read by the third grade.

"It puts our kids at a great disadvantage," said Martinez. "Students who can't read in the early grades have a difficult time recovering lost ground as curriculum advances. Many become disillusioned and frustrated and give up and they drop out."

Sen. Mary Jane Garcia, D-Dona Ana, said, "I've always believed that if a child can't read, the child can't learn."

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