MLG celebrates increased pre-K enrollment, but is silent on student outcomes

In New Mexico government the spending or expansion of government is often viewed as the “success.” Actual outcomes are an afterthought or not even a consideration. The State’s massive spending on pre-K is a great example. A new report cited here by the Santa Fe New Mexican touts the number of kids participating in the “free” program. Elizabeth Groginsky, cabinet secretary of the newly formed “Early Childhood Education and Care Department” noted in the article, “We’re excited because we keep the investment and we keep increasing the amount that we’re paying for pre-K so that those salaries can be competitive and that we can make sure that our children are supported in high quality settings.”

But New Mexico began ramping up spending on pre-K back in 2005. There are young people who went through the program who may have graduated college at this point (or have entered the workforce full time). We haven’t seen a high quality study of the students that went through the program starting in 2006 or any time since then. We DO know that New Mexico suffered from the VERY worst scores on all reading and math areas studied on the Nation’s Report Card (NAEP).

MLG’s COVID lockdowns undoubtedly had a massive, negative impact on student achievement, but it is impossible to see any positive influence from the State’s growing spending on pre-K. Will the LFC or the Early Childhood Department EVER do a credible study on the program’s outcomes?