With massive education spending on the agenda at Albuquerque Public Schools and in the Legislature, it is worth taking a closer look at the reality of New Mexico’s education system and how it really performs relative to those in other states. Unfortunately too many education ratings (like 24/7 Wall Street’s) use more spending and simple outcomes as a positive variable in determining the “highest quality” K-12 systems.
Another issue is that these rankings usually don’t consider the real challenges of poverty and race in education challenges. New Mexico has those in spades and that is often the defense put forth by defenders of the current system from the unions to school districts.
The goal of an education system should be to take students where they are and help them as much as possible. Having really high-performing students and doing little with them or just spending lots of money don’t do much for student outcomes.
Fortunately, some researchers have taken a closer look at education measuring sticks and found a way to adjust the results to account for poverty and differing ethnic makeups. That’s the good news, unfortunately as the lists below show, New Mexico STILL performs poorly even after adjusting for those issues. As seen below, New Mexico ranks 41st on quality and, when spending is factored in, the State ranks slightly better at 33rd. That’s better than being 50th, but it is still not great. You can read the full analysis here and see the chart below: