NM College Freshman not Ready

Given New Mexico’s poor track record on K-12 education, it is no surprise that many of the students entering New Mexico colleges and universities are ill-prepared. But, as the Albuquerque Journal editorialized on Wednesday, it is shocking just how unprepared students are. According to the editorial, “High-performing states have 64 percent of students in upper-level math classes and 40 percent in upper-level science, New Mexico has 35 percent and 21 percent.” The study, which includes a table indicating that New Mexico students receive an “F” in preparation and “D” in completion of their college educations is available here.
The problem here is two-pronged, but in both cases it is caused by government: 1) The simplest way to address student unpreparedness is to reform the K-12 monopoly and put parents back in charge of their child’s education. Only this accountability will cause educational outputs to improve because nobody cares as much about kids as their parents. 2) Rather than using oil and gas revenues to subsidize college tuition for New Mexico students, our colleges and universities need the freedom to adopt real standards and be able to go after the best-qualified students. A merit-based system, not gussied up welfare, will make our higher-education system world class and will force New Mexico’s students that want to go to college to improve their achievement.