Lack of progress: The real problem with NM’s pitiful NAEP scores

It is no secret that New Mexico kids don’t perform well relative to their peers on tests like the National Assessment of Educational Progress (2019 results were just released last week). The latest NAEP results are no exception. New Mexico is right at the very bottom in overall results (yes, we recognize that 2019 NAEP data represent data accumulated during the Martinez Administration, but the Legislature wasn’t exactly pushing big reforms either).

I can’t go through ALL the various subject areas, but RGF has long been concerned with 4th grade reading results because up to 4th grade students are learning to read, but after that they are reading to learn. So, let’s see where New Mexico stands:

New Mexico’s reading score stands at 208. A few ups and a few downs, but no real progress over the last few decades.

Neighboring Arizona has struggled with many of the same challenges that New Mexico has, but over the years has enacted numerous choice-based reforms to great effect.

And then there is Mississippi. Remember the old New Mexico standby, “Thank God for Mississippi.” Don’t look now, but Mississippi adopted a charter school law in 2013 and has enacted a number of other reforms and it is leaving New Mexico in the dust.

  New Mexico DOES have a charter school law on the books, but charters are under attack in the Legislature and the laws is somewhat outdated .  If New Mexico is going to improve its educational performance there are plenty of successful models to look at. Unfortunately, more spending is all we can likely expect from the current crew in Santa Fe. Will another eight years pass without student progress?

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One Reply to “Lack of progress: The real problem with NM’s pitiful NAEP scores”

  1. The concern about students’ ability to learn to read by the end of fourth grade is well-founded. However, there is no connection between a management/organization issue like charter schools and an educational issue like reading proficiency.

    The critical issues are two: curriculum, still handicapped by the maven who brought us Common Core, and the quality of teachers, a topic constituting the third rail of educational politics. One unintended consequence of women’s liberation was the residue of the mediocrities left in and now entering into elementary school classrooms. The problem is compounded by the hiring of more and more “specialists” to deal with problems which do not get solved but lead to the hiring of more “specialists” to solve them. The result: an ineffective, expensive constituency which wields greater and greater self-protective political power. Compared to these problems, charter schools are no even a placebo.

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