Addresses educational gaps for Black students, and incorporates Black culture and anti-racism into curriculums

Santa Fe, N.M. – Legislation to improve educational outcomes and experiences for African American students in New Mexico unanimously passed the Senate Education Committee today. The bill will head next to the Senate Floor, its final step before the Governor’s desk. 

Sponsored by House Majority Floor Leader Rep. Sheryl Williams Stapleton (D-Albuquerque) and Senator Harold Pope, Jr. (D-Albuquerque), House Bill 43 creates a Black Education Advisory Council and a Black Education Liaison to advise the New Mexico Public Education Department on policy and programs related to the education of African American students. Schools would be required to cooperate in developing programs, curricula, and instructional materials that recognize and teach Black culture and anti-racism. 

The bill also requires annual anti-racism, racial awareness, and sensitivity training by all school personnel, an annual Black education status report, school discipline policies to define and prohibit racialized aggression, and school hotlines for reporting racially-charged incidents. 

“House Bill 43 creates critical mechanisms to address the significant educational disparities that exist for Black students in New Mexico,” said Leader Stapleton. “This bill identifies best practices for strengthening educational outcomes for Black students, addressing the Black student achievement gap, and recommending curricula and instructional materials that include the history and culture of the Black community.” 

“This legislation fights the myth that New Mexicans have only three cultural backgrounds, when the truth is that African Americans have resided here since before statehood,” said Senator Pope. “HB 43 gives our Black students the opportunity to learn about their background, culture and history, while also investing in improving their overall educational outcomes.” 

Members of the public can track legislation on the New Mexico Legislature website, access committee meetings and House floor sessions via the Webcasts tab, or participate by Zoom to provide public comment on committee hearings. During the 2021 Legislative Session, the House of Representatives is focused on passing critical legislation while protecting the health and safety of the public, the staff, and the legislators.