Audit faults New Mexico teacher preparation programs

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - Legislative auditors say New Mexico's colleges of education should toughen their admission standards to provide more qualified teachers and potentially improve student performance.

A Legislative Finance Committee audit on Wednesday said none of the colleges with teacher preparation programs require minimum ACT scores by students for admission.

Auditors recommended the Public Education Department increase the passing scores on competency tests required for a teaching license.

The audit report said education colleges "continue to attract and admit academically average candidates" despite a teacher licensing system linked to minimum salaries.

In a written response to the audit, deans and directors of colleges of education didn't oppose raising admission standards but said "academically superior candidates gravitate to schools of engineering and other sciences" because those fields offer higher entry-level salaries then teaching.

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