SENATE BILL 42
54th legislature - STATE OF NEW MEXICO - second session, 2020
Mary Kay Papen
RELATING TO PUBLIC SCHOOLS; CREATING "EARLY PHYSICS EDUCATION" AS A PILOT PROJECT; PROVIDING POWERS AND DUTIES; REQUIRING APPLICATIONS; REQUIRING MATCHING FUNDING; CREATING A FUND; MAKING AN APPROPRIATION.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO:
SECTION 1. A new section of the Public School Code is enacted to read:
"[NEW MATERIAL] EARLY PHYSICS EDUCATION PILOT PROJECT-- IMPLEMENTATION.--
A. "Early physics education" is created as a five-year pilot project based on three annual student cohorts in sixth, seventh and eighth grades that incorporates hands-on, age-appropriate physics education curricula. The purpose of early physics education is to prove that early education in physics will increase academic performance in all courses and encourage interest in post-secondary careers in science and mathematics. Early physics education shall include the evaluation of the longitudinal impact on student learning when purposefully sequenced instruction in foundational concepts of physics is introduced starting in the sixth grade. Outcomes shall be measured by academic performance, high school course selection and student post-secondary interest declarations on students' annual next-step plans.
B. A school district shall administer early physics education and contract with an organization that provides professional development and materials for teachers to introduce physics education into the sixth through eighth grade curricula.
C. School districts may apply on behalf of their public schools, on a form and in a manner as provided by the department, to participate in early physics education and receive a grant from the early physics education fund. The department shall select for participation in the pilot project as many public schools as qualify, but no fewer than ten. To the extent possible, the department shall select public schools that are generally distinct from one another in urban or rural character, geographic location and concentration of poverty. A participating school district shall provide one-half of the funding for the pilot project.
D. Students participating in early physics education shall be evaluated at the beginning of the program, and their progress shall be measured through standardized assessments, longitudinal evaluation, declarations of interest in their next-step plans before high school graduation and any other evaluation tools required by the department. The department shall establish reporting requirements for participating public schools and school districts and shall evaluate those reports to make its own interim and final reports to the governor and the legislature on the efficacy of adopting physics as a mandatory or elective course in sixth through eighth grades."
SECTION 2. A new section of the Public School Code is enacted to read:
"[NEW MATERIAL] EARLY PHYSICS EDUCATION FUND--CREATED.--
The "early physics education fund" is created in the state treasury. The fund consists of appropriations, gifts, grants, donations and income from investment of the fund. The department shall administer the fund, and money in the fund is subject to appropriation by the legislature to carry out the purposes of the early physics education pilot project. The department and school districts may seek public and private grants, gifts and donations for the pilot project. Grants and donations received by the department shall be deposited in the fund. Unless unrestricted, money from a grant, gift or donation shall be expended in accordance with the terms of that grant, gift or donation. Unless otherwise specified by the terms of a grant, gift or donation, the balance in the fund at the end of the pilot project shall revert to the general fund. Expenditures from the fund shall be by warrants of the secretary of finance and administration drawn pursuant to vouchers signed by the secretary of public education or the secretary's authorized representative."
SECTION 3. APPROPRIATION.--Six hundred thousand dollars ($600,000) is appropriated from the general fund to the early physics education fund for expenditure in fiscal years 2021 through 2026 to carry out the provisions of the early physics education pilot project. Any unexpended or unencumbered balance remaining at the end of fiscal year 2026 shall revert to the general fund.
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