New Mexico PED Proposes Extended School Year In 2021

From KOB-TV:

New findings reinforce what many parents in New Mexico already know—online learning is not going well for many families.

On Wednesday, the New Mexico Public Education Department proposed extending next school year to compensate, and it’s pushing to get more kids back to learning in-person.

In a presentation to the New Mexico Legislative Finance Committee, PED leaders showed a plan to state lawmakers to add more days to next year’s school calendar, statewide. There would be 25 added days for younger kids and 10 for higher grade levels. It would cost $138 million.

PED leaders said surveys and focus groups show a wide range of issues with online learning, and they believe it could even lower graduation rates. They told lawmakers that way more students are failing classes than in a typical semester.

The education officials reported a lack of engagement from students, saying 1 in 3 public and charter school students are not regularly participating in live instruction, and there are issues with testing on top of that, including parents doing their kids’ work.

In their presentation, PED leaders said national data shows that online-only learning widens socioeconomic achievement gaps, and New Mexico teachers report that more than a third of their students are experiencing social-emotional issues due to the pandemic.

Less than a third of kids in grades K-through-5 are going in-person at all in New Mexico. PED leaders say state officials need to keep working on a “roadmap” to get more students back in the classroom.

An APS spokesperson said the district is reviewing the new information presented Wednesday, and it’s too soon for it to comment on it.

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