This week is School Choice Week in New Mexico and around the country. During this week, over 32,000 events and activities are being held around the country to raise awareness of K-12 education options.
In accordance with School Choice Week, Education Week has released its Quality Counts 2018 report. This report grades and ranks all 50 states and Washington D.C. That national score this year is a C, with a score of 74.5.
New Mexico moved one spot farther down the rank, to 50th this year, with a score of 66.2, which is only .1 less than 2017. Mississippi, which ranked 50th in 2017, improved this year, going from a score of 65.8 to 66.8, landing it in 49th place. Nevada remains at the bottom, with a score of 65 this year and last.
The Quality Counts report scores states in three areas: Chance for success, which combines information from 13 indicators that span a person’s life to better understand the role of education; K-12 achievement, which is based on 18 achievement measures related to reading and math performance, highs school graduation rates and results of Advanced Placement tests; and School Finance, which is an analysis of school spending and financial equity. New Mexico scored best in School Finance and worst in K-12 Achievement.
Released last summer, the annual KIDS COUNT Data Book, released by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, ranked New Mexico 49th out of 50 states for child well-being.
In that report, New Mexico saw a jump in its health ranking, rising from 44th to 37th in the country. Child poverty also moved up, as well as median household income. The number of children attending preschool — an indication of early childhood education, a focus in New Mexico — saw a 5 percent increase.
Many New Mexico business leaders say that they struggle to find a skilled and prepared workforce, and that concerns about our state’s education system are hurting our ability to recruit and retain talented executives.
School Choice Week events in New Mexico will include open houses at schools, homeschool information sessions and a celebration to end the week at the Albuquerque Convention Center and Civic Plaza.