Public Education in NM:
What the Bottom of the Barrel Looks Like
Note: The NCES does not provide data for NM for the period 1998-2002
How has public education fared under Governor Martinez? The short answer: poorly
Here are several recent rankings of the NM educational system by reputable national organizations:
- Kids Count: 2016 ranking shows NM at the bottom: 50/50, down from 49 during 2013-15.
- Wallet-Eye: 2015 ranking of "school system quality," NM 51/51 (with Washington DC included) on a composite of 13 weighted elements.
- Education Week: 2016 ranking shown NM "overall" at 48/50; 49/50 in "chances of success," and 36th "school finances."
- NAEP Fourth Grade reading scores: 2015 ranking shows NM at 50/50
- NAEP Fourth Grade math scores: 2015 ranking shows NM at 49/50
How true is it that we don't spend enough money on education?
- NM ranks 36th in expenditures per pupil ($9734) but scores 50/50 in student achievement
- Arizona ranks 48th in expenditures per pupil ($7528), but scores 36th in student achievement
- Utah ranks 50the in expenditures per pupil ($6500) but scores 13th in student achievement
- NM taxpayers would save $1.1 billion per year if we spent what Utah spends per pupil
- NM taxpayers would save $746 million per year if it spent what Arizona spends per pupil
The problem is not a lack of money. The problem is that we NM taxpayers don't get our money's worth for our education dollars. Saying it differently, state government has not had the will to improve. Fixing this is in our power without spending more money.
Is it possible for a state to make significant improvements in student scores in a relatively short period of time? Consider this:
- Texas moved from a ranking of 43 to 29 between 2002 and 2008
- New Jersey jumped from 26th to 9th between 2002 and 2008
- Pennsylvania jumped from 41 to 17 between 2001 and 2008
- South Dakota jumbed from 35 to 5 from 1999 to 2008
- Virginia jumped from 27 to 11 from 1999 to 2008
- California, Nevada, Arizona, and Utah are among 22 states making significant improvement in math and english scores from 2003 to 2013