Bill Richardson's Record
* Raised Teachers' Salaries and Improved Teacher Standards.
Shored up New Mexico's Education Retirement Fund, which had a projected long-term shortfall of $2.4 billion.
Increased the percentage of quality teachers in New Mexico from 67% to 90%, raising the number one predictor of student performance.
* Increased Accountability. Successfully fought for a state constitutional amendment that created a Secretary of Education.
* Earned National Recognition for Education Reform Efforts. With Richardson as Governor, New Mexico earned an "A" for assessments and school accountability in Education Week's Quality Counts report. The report also showed New Mexico in the top 6 in the nation for efforts to improve teacher quality, moving the state from 30th to 17th. New Mexico also earned the 3rd-highest grade for resource equity.
* Implemented free full-day kindergarten, available to every five-year-old.
* Implemented Pre-Kindergarten. Governor Richardson launched a statewide public-private pre-kindergarten program for four-year-olds. Now in its third year, New Mexico Pre-K went from $5 million to $13 million and now serves 5,000.
* Removed junk food from New Mexico's schools.
* Increased physical education classes and doubled the number of school-based health centers.
* Increased funding for classrooms.
Invested more than $600 million to modernize New Mexico's schools and reduce class size, giving New Mexico's teachers the resources necessary to provide high-quality education.
Brought 5,000 laptops to New Mexico's 7th graders, bringing greater fluency and familiarity in technology.
* Expanded Charter Schools. Signed the Charter School District Act, giving charter school districts greater flexibility to experiment with new ideas, as well as increased funding to help charter schools get off the ground throughout the state.
* Increased access to college and expanded training for high-demand jobs.
Created the College Affordability Scholarship so that more New Mexicans can afford to continue their studies. Thousands have already been helped.
Expanded access to the state's lottery-scholarship program.
Aligned degree programs with workforce needs, such as film, natural resources, health, and nursing.
* Addressed Truancy and High School Dropouts.
Funded programs to help at-risk students stay in school and prepare for college.
Toughened the fight against truancy by stripping away driver's licenses and holding parents accountable for habitual offenders.
Going forward, Governor Richardson is also seeking to raise the legal drop-out age from 17 to 18.
Experience for a Change
Chad (The Left) Shue