School choice needed for education progress in New Mexico | Rio Grande Foundation

It’s back to school time in New Mexico. But throughout the summer three big education-related headlines have framed education policy issues that will impact our school children this year and for years to come. The recently-completed court hearing as to whether New Mexico’s education system is “adequate” and whether the courts should attempt to force legislators to spend as much as an extra $600 million on K-12; Sen. Mimi Stewart, a liberal Democrat and union supporter spoke at an education-related conference over the summer and offered some unvarnished truths about New Mexico’s education woes including “We don’t know how to teach kids from poverty.” PARCC scores were released. The test may be controversial, but it, like most other objective education measuring tools finds New Mexico’s education system to be lacking. In particular, PARCC exposed the shortcomings of the State’s largest district, Albuquerque Public Schools (APS). The district not only performed poorly on this year’s test, but overall math and reading scores showed few signs of the District improving.When it comes to the first issue of a lawsuit forcing the State to spend more on education, it is worth pointing out that New Mexico already spends more per-student than any of its better-performing neighbors (according to the US Census Bureau). It is hard to say that more money would solve our education woes. Sen. Stewart implicitly admits this in her comments. If you don’t know how to teach poor kids, what guarantee is there that more spending will solve the problem?K-12 spending will remain constrained because Medicaid spending is consuming an ever- larger percentage of the State budget. This trend will likely accelerate as New Mexico is forced to take on a higher percentage of the cost of the ObamaCare expansion.

Source: School choice needed for education progress in New Mexico | Rio Grande Foundation