New Mexico will continue to be the lowest-ranking state in education in the nation if it remains under the control of the current administration. This ranking will remain, as it has been for decades unless a major course correction is implemented. Reforming and promoting school funding competitions at all levels of education would improve school outcomes. Choice between public, charter, parochial and private schools must be an option allowing education funds to follow the student to meet their needs, particularly for the disadvantaged students.
One size fits all education is not working because early education needs to focus on life skills development rather than indoctrinating children with social justice issues that have usurped parents’ prerogatives in shaping their children's ethical beliefs. We need to look at the best practice models for education currently in this country and examples in foreign countries as well. New Mexico desperately needs appropriate funds or grants for best practice models to ensure students go back to basic education, i.e., mathematics, English, civics, and science that will equip them for the next phase of life.
Students are leaving schools inadequately educated and unable to perform reasonable skills in workforce needs. We are not equipping our students with the core skills needed to advance beyond high school.
Dr. Thomas Sowell quoted, “Education failure has become a norm,” as he referenced schools in the state of New York, but the same could be easily stated for New Mexico’s schools.
Educational and vocational job training programs need to provide advanced wage-earning capabilities. This can be done by redirecting existing funding that is freed up from over-bloated administrative agency costs that prevent much of the appropriated funding from reaching the grassroots targets that it was intended to benefit.
Our education system has neglected many of our students who do not intend to attend a university, resulting in our chronic high dropout rate from secondary schools. There is no acceptable reason for New Mexico not to provide education early in secondary schools to produce technical and skilled labor training ready to enter the workforce at a functional apprentice or intern level upon graduation from secondary schools. This will result in greater starting wages as opposed to a base entry-level. Additional post-secondary educational opportunities should be developed and implemented for skilled technicians and laboratory careers to enhance greater income-earning opportunities. Vo-tech schools in each secondary school would enhance student retention and significantly reduce dropout rates.
LEDA and JTIP are utilized for post-secondary students. Leda is oriented toward college education at "top" universities, for which I believe no preference over our state's universities should be given priority. JTIP is orientated toward non-college-bound students in pursuit of manufacturing, light industrial, or technical applications. Tax abatement is a process that slowly rolls in taxes on start-ups or other special-purpose programs. Tax abatement programs are generally incentivized by tax reduction over some time. Use of any of these programs should require post-graduate or post-certificate service in New Mexico or qualified underdeveloped communities from program participants. All the programs should require mandatory reporting achievements with goals and claw-back requirements to substantiate success measurements. It is necessary to develop our education system in secondary and post-secondary training that will provide skills and a better income-earning potential for New Mexicans that do not desire a university degree. Measures to produce enhanced capabilities should be introduced sooner rather than later in our education system. I believe introduction sooner in our education system will help also to reduce the high dropout rates seen in New Mexico's high schools because interest levels by students will be enhanced for students more interested in manual or technical work. Our universities produce quality graduates that are sought around the country; that may be a problem for this state because so many of our college graduates have to leave the state to find a job that reflects the knowledge and abilities gained. The state has failed its graduates if we cannot attract industry, manufacturing, and skill-based applications.