SANTA FE ― Friday, House Joint Resolution 1 (HJR1) was passed by a Senate Committee for the first time. HJR 1 a constitutional amendment that seeks to uplift New Mexico children by increasing funding for early childhood education.
Sponsored by Representatives Javier Martinez (D-Albuquerque) and Antonio “Moe” Maestas (D-Albuquerque), HJR1 invests in our state’s most precious resource, our children, by increasing enrollment in early childhood education and providing a strong return on investment to New Mexicans.
“This is a big step for an initiative that will uplift our communities and give our kids the best shot at success. If we invest in early years, the success rate is off the charts, and will ensure our families will see more success in the future and our state will benefit as a whole.” Rep. Javier Martinez said.
“The Senate Education Committee gave this initiative a historic boost—we’re going take this momentum forward. Investing in early childhood education is not only in our economic interest, it strengthens all of our communities by addressing two crucial issues that have faced New Mexico for generations – crime and poverty,” Rep. Moe Maestas said.
Currently, 95% of New Mexico children ages 3 and under don’t have access to critical services such as home visiting. Home visiting and other early childhood education services improve child wellbeing, readiness to learn, and other social outcomes. Children who have access to early childhood education services are more likely to graduate from high school, attend college, and have higher income earning potential.
New Mexico has the third largest Land Grant Permanent Fund (LGPF) and the second lowest reading scores in the nation. An increased distribution of 1% from the fund will not impact the health or vitality of the LGPF, however it will help meet the educational needs of New Mexico’s children, without hitting the pocketbooks of taxpayers. For every dollar spent on early childhood education, New Mexico could gain up to a 13% return on investment.
The Early Childhood Education Amendment, HJR1, passed the Senate Education Committee and now moves to the Senate Finance Committee.