Analysis

Synopsis:

 House Bill 131 (HB 131) creates the Assistant Secretary of Hispanic Education in both the Higher Education and Public Education Departments, and appropriates $110,000 to hire this assistant secretary in the Higher Education Department.  

Analysis:

 House Bill 131 (HB 131) creates the Assistant Secretary of Hispanic Education in both the Higher Education (HED) and Public Education Departments (PED). 
First, the bill enacts new statutes to create an Assistant Secretary of Hispanic Education (Assistant Secretary) in HED.  The bill provides the qualifications and duties of the Assistant Secretary, such as: advising the Secretary of HED on the development of policy regarding the education of Hispanic students (including undocumented students); advising the Secretary of HED and the Governor on the development of a five-year strategic plan as it relates to Hispanic student higher education; support families and communities; collaborate with PED and the Hispanic Education Advisory Council; support professional development on multicultural education and equity audits for faculty at higher educational institutions; help PED in licensing teachers from Spanish-speaking countries; assist with data collection; and implement teacher, administrator and Hispanic leadership preparation programs. The Secretary of HED is required to create an assessment plan that measures teaching and learning and identifies barriers that deter implementation of a culturally relevant curriculum.  

Second, the bill amends Section 22-23B-1 NMSA 1978 of the Hispanic Education Act (Act) by adding more purposes of the Act. Additional purposes of the Act are: to develop assessment and accountability of equitable and effective educational systems, expand opportunities; cultivate family and community engagement; provide frameworks and systemic opportunities for student/family/community engagement; ensure inclusion and transparency; establish collaborative decision-making processes (and have an on-site family and community engagement coordinator at each school); provide culturally sustaining pedagogy through multicultural education models proven to be effective with Hispanic students and align the curriculum between community, school districts and the pre-K through post-secondary system; and provide for the study and development of new educational initiatives if current methods are not yielding overall student success.  
Third, the bill replaces references to “Higher Education Liaison” in the Hispanic Education Act with “Assistant Secretary of Hispanic Education in the Public Education Department.”  The duties of the Assistant Secretary of Hispanic Education in PED are similar to those duties that the Higher Education Liaison had, except that the following duties are added:  have a record of advancing equity for Hispanic students of the state; focus on issues related to Hispanic students, families, and place-based communities; advised the Governor (instead of the public education commission) on a five-year plan including pre-k and career readiness; collaborate with the Hispanic Education Advisory Council, support culturally sustaining pedagogy, provide professional development; prepare annual reports; oversee opportunities for collaborating with various stakeholders; establish a process for teachers from Spanish-speaking countries can become licensed teachers in the state; ensure that historically accurate, locally written and culturally relevant materials are adopted; help develop a plan that measures teaching and learning and identifies barriers that deter culturally relevant curriculum; and use an interdependency method to support leadership.    
Fourth, the bill amends the function of the Hispanic Education Advisory Council (Council) by providing that the Council advises the Governor and the Secretary of Higher Education, in addition to the Secretary of PED, on matters related to Hispanic education in New Mexico.  The bill amends the composition of the Council: two members must be students, and all members must be knowledgeable about Hispanic education and have demonstrated a commitment to equity, inclusion and the advancement of the education of Hispanic students.  Council members must include advocates, scholars, researchers, students, and family members.  The Secretary of PED must give consider gender, disability, first generation college students and socioeconomic representation.  The bill allows the Council members to receive per diem and mileage, and allows meetings to be conducted electronically.  
Fifth, the bill requires that Statewide Hispanic Education Status Report (Status Report) are to be publicly available online in English and Spanish, and PED, HED, and the Council must have biannual statewide meetings with the community to discuss the annual Status Report.  The bill requires more information to be included in the Status Report: number of detentions, suspensions, use of restraints, and expulsions, and a breakdown by race/ethnicity/gender, and interventions used instead; incidents of microaggressions and discrimination toward Hispanic students and faculty; community engagement processes; and the number of Hispanic teachers, administrators and staff members. The bill requires more information from HED in the Status Report: educational outcomes of Hispanic students in comparison with other ethnic groups, degree program completion times; and Hispanic faculty and leadership hired or retained in tenure-track positions.  
Lastly, the bill appropriates $110,000 from the General Fund to HED for use in Fiscal Year 2022 to hire and provide benefits for an Assistant Secretary of Hispanic Education.  Unused funds revert to the General Fund. 
This bill is effective July 1, 2021.  

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