Press Release: Senate Democrats Sapien, Soules Vote Against Improving Student Reading Outcomes
Albuquerque, NM – Today Senate Democrats John Sapien and William Soules, Chair and Vice-Chair of the Senate Education Committee, voted to table HB 67, which would have ensured New Mexico students could read at grade level before advancing to the fourth grade.
“We cannot continue to let students who can’t read at grade level slip through the cracks,” said Republican Party of New Mexico Spokesman Tucker Keene. “Sapien and Soules both know that if students can’t read before they reach the 4th grade, they’re never going to catch up with their peers, and yet somehow they see the status quo as acceptable. Only 23 percent of New Mexico’s 4th graders are reading at grade level and we need legislators who will look for a solution to this depressing reality.”
The legislation, sponsored by Republican Rep. Monica Youngblood, would have implemented a number of measures to help address the issue in the early years of a student’s education, using third grade retention as a last resort for students who still were not at grade level before graduating to the 4th grade. Students identified as struggling to read would receive intervention and support geared toward the specific area in which they struggle.
“The truth is, Sapien and Soules are against this bill because increasing the retention rate reflects poorly on the teachers unions whose money they rely on to win elections,” said Keene. “But to place reelection above the quality of our students’ education is an exceedingly cynical and self-serving move to make.”