Today, Governor Susana Martinez joined Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry and Will Steinsiek, Executive Director for ReadWest Inc., at the Main Library in Albuquerque to attend "A Celebration of Literacy," an event commemorating International Literacy Day. The Governor has also proclaimed today "Literacy Day in
"Reading is the key to learning," said Governor Martinez. "When someone acquires the ability to read -- regardless of what age they happen to be -- they unlock tremendous opportunities for themselves and their families."
Governor Martinez has placed the issue of banning social promotion on the agenda for this month's special legislative session. Currently, New Mexico schools can pass students from the 3rd to the 4th grade, even if the student has not acquired basic reading skills. A bill ending this practice -- and providing for important assessments of students between kindergarten and the second grade in order to identify those who are struggling to read -- is being carried by Senators John Arthur Smith and Stuart Ingle, as well as Representatives Mary Helen Garcia and Nora Espinoza.
"If our kids are able to read properly, they will have a great advantage at everything they do in life," Governor Martinez said. "And if we address reading early on, we can prevent students from becoming frustrated in later grades and dropping out before graduation."
A 2011 study on high school dropout rates released by the Annie E. Casey Foundation found that students who were not proficient readers by the end of the 3rd grade were 4 times more likely to drop out of school before graduation. A bill to end social promotion passed the House of Representatives 62-5 during the last legislative session and cleared two Senate committees unanimously.
Today's event was sponsored by the Albuquerque Public Library and Adult Literacy programs in the greater Albuquerque area and included guest speakers, activities, book readings. The event was created to promote literacy and celebrate reading programs in Albuquerque and New Mexico.