New Mexico House backs early childhood endowment fund

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SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A plan to create a $320 million state endowment for early childhood education programs won endorsement Monday by the New Mexico House of Representatives.

The 51-14 House vote follows approval of a similar bill by the state Senate.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham is a leading proponent of creating the trust fund whose investment earnings would be earmarked for a variety of early education and child well-being services.

Agreement by the House and Senate on a final version of the bills is needed to send the initiative to the governor.

The state is consolidating oversight of early childhood programs under a newly formed agency.

New Mexico is adding classroom time, expanded preschool and home visiting programs in efforts to improve public school education.

The state ranks has the national's lowest high school graduation rate and has been faulted by a state district judge with failing to provide adequate educational opportunities, especially for poor and minority households.

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