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New Mexico final ’18 high school grad rates show record jump

March 19, 2019

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Final numbers show the rate of New Mexico high school students who earned diplomas last year was the highest it has ever been, the New Mexico Public Education Department announced Tuesday.

State education officials said the 2018 class marked the highest 4-year graduation rate in the state’s history at 73.9 percent. That’s nearly a percentage point higher than the numbers announced in December under outgoing Republican Gov. Susana Martinez.

While that’s still below the national average, the numbers mark a 10 percent increase since 2011.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the national average graduation rate is around 85 percent.

Public Education Secretary Karen Trujillo told reporters that state residents should “give credit where credit is due” and cited students and educators for helping increase the rates from the era of former Democratic Gov. Bill Richardson.

Asked if the graduation gains were made because of, and in spite of, policies under Martinez, Trujillo said “a little bit of both.”

Trujillo, who was appointed by Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, said the Martinez administration could have done a better job tracking some students and that may have made the rates even higher.

On Facebook, Martinez said she was proud of the courage educators and others took on to reform education during her tenure and took a swipe at teachers unions. “Our focus was always on student performance, which is why the unions fought us every step of the way,” she wrote.

Trujillo said she would like to see the graduation rate around 80 percent in four years.

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