ALBUQUERQUE ― American Federation of Teachers New Mexico President Stephanie Ly released the following statement:
“The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) latest education report paints a troubling picture for early education access and enrollment and educator pay in the United States.
“We have a lot of work to do to serve the needs of our students from cradle to career according to the newly released ‘Education at a Glance’ report. With only 42 percent of children enrolled in early childhood education in the United States, we have one of the lowest rates of enrollment among industrialized countries. In New Mexico, upwards of 60 percent of children are not enrolled in any form of early education.
“Given we are one of the richest countries in the world, enrollment numbers this low are embarrassing considering access and investments in early education not only pave the way for future academic success, but creates a more attractive climate for business investment.
“Additionally, the report draws a clear line between educator salaries and the ability to attract and retain highly qualified educators to our classrooms. This disconnect is clearly impacting public schools in New Mexico as we face historic educator shortages largely due to low levels of pay and an abusive evaluation system.
“Lawmakers in New Mexico – in particular Secretary of Education Hanna Skandera – should do everything in their power to increase funding and access for early education in New Mexico, including utilizing a portion of the Land Grant Permanent Fund and raise educator salaries to ensure that future generations of New Mexico children are receiving the tools and training necessary to be successful throughout their life.”