Letter To The Editor: Early Childhood Education – The Key To Raising New Mexico’s Ranking For Child Well-Being And Our Economy?

By Rebecca Shankland and Barbara Calef
League co-presidents

Why does New Mexico rank so low in child well-being? According to the 2017 Kids Count study run by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, New Mexico ranks last in child well-being. The study measures child poverty and child health, but the statistic that everyone is talking about now is child education.

New Mexico ranks 50th because of young children (ages three to four) not in school (57 percent), 4th graders not proficient in reading (75 percent), 8th graders not proficient in math (75 percent), and high schoolers not graduating on time (29 percent). Early childhood education can impact all these later deficiencies.

What are the best programs for early childhood education in NM? How can they best be administered?

These issues will be highlighted at the Early Childhood Forum sponsored by the League of Women Voters, AAUW, and Searchlight NM at 7 p.m. (6:30 p.m. for refreshments) Sept. 6 in Graves Hall of the United Church. Charles Sallee, deputy director of the New Mexico Legislative Finance Committee, will speak to the need for better implementation and oversight of such early childhood programs as PreK and Head Start. His talk will be followed by an audience Q&A and discussion.

What is the connection between early childhood education and our economy? Answer: An educated populace is ready to work and create a healthy economy.  

The evening will be moderated by Searchlight, a nonpartisan, nonprofit investigative news organization that has devoted the last year to writing exclusively about child well-being in New Mexico.

All are welcome to join us in discussing this crucial issue for New Mexico.