NM Senate OKs bill to give schools A-to-F grades

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SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A proposal by Republican Gov. Susana Martinez to assign grades from A to F to rate New Mexico's public schools cleared the Senate on Wednesday.

Supporters said the grades will provide better information to parents about the quality of their local schools.

"Whenever we can objectively put our rating system out there that people understand and can rally around and put their resources to work to improve ... the educational programs that are out there for our students, I believe we're going to show a significant improvement in achievement for our students," said Sen. Vernon Asbill, R-Carlsbad, a former school superintendent.

The bill passed the Senate on a 23-11 vote and goes to the House, where a similar proposal was approved Wednesday by the House Education Committee. The Legislature ends Saturday but there's still time for the two chambers to agree on the grading bill.

The grading system will be based on standardized tests taken by students and on growth of student performance in reading and mathematics. Other factors include the high school graduation rate.

Under the legislation, parents of a student in a school rated F for two years can send their child to any public school that's not failing or they can use an online "cyber academy" in New Mexico.

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