Analysis: dismal education news

September 1 was a big day for education data. For starters, the Lujan Grisham Administration released data based on its new assessment (which replaced Susana Martinez’s assessment and then was delayed due to COVID). The results are not pretty. A writeup from the Santa Fe New Mexican both highlights the way the test has evolved and the disappointing results.

APS does a decent breakdown by school here, but results are not easy to find on the Public Education Department website. The charts below WERE released by PED, but the full report was hard to find.

In MORE education news, the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) released  nationwide data for 9 year olds. Sadly, “Average scores for age 9 students in 2022 declined 5 points in reading and 7 points in mathematics compared to 2020. This is the largest average score decline in reading since 1990, and the first ever score decline in mathematics.” (see below NM data).

Though (sadly) not broken out by state the NAEP report highlights how COVID lockdowns and chaos impacted students across the country. Since New Mexico students were locked out of their schools by MLG for over a year (6th-most in the nation) there is no doubt that New Mexico students suffered disproportionately due to lost time in the classroom.


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California within one week: bans gas cars, tells people not to charge electric cars due to power shortages

Recently (with potential implications for New Mexico), California’s unelected clean air board decided to ban gas powered cars by 2035 with a rapid ramp-up over the next decade or so.

Interestingly enough, while New Mexico continues to follow California on electric vehicles and a push to “renewables” on the power grid, it seems likely to ALSO follow California to having inadequate electrical power in the near future (especially next summer when the San Juan Generating Station will no longer be available).

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Lujan Grisham to use tax dollars for $10 million abortion clinic

While the Rio Grande Foundation studiously avoids taking sides in the ongoing battle over abortion policy in New Mexico, it appears that in the wake of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade reversal New Mexico’s leftist politicians are going “all-in” on the issue by spending YOUR tax dollars in support of abortion.

We covered (and are considering action on) Albuquerque City Council’s $250,000 “donation” to Planned Parenthood earlier this year. Now, with a massive surplus available to her, Gov. Lujan Grisham has decided to allocate $10 million worth of capital outlay to build a state-run abortion clinic in Las Cruces. While full news stories are hard to come by at this point, numerous credible outlets have reported on it. Stay tuned for details on the latest abuse of your tax dollars….

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Tipping Point NM episode 433: Polls Out – Can R’s Close the Gap on Statewide Races, NM Government Spending and more

The ABQ Journal came out with polling for numerous races including Gov. These polls (and here) with RGF analysis here point to New Mexicans continuing to embrace the same policies and people they have for years. Can Ronchetti and other candidates close the gap?

A new RGF opinion piece takes on NM’s self-inflicted doctor shortage. As bad as this shortage is now, it will get worse once MLG’s medical malpractice kicks in. 

California bans internal combustion engines.

Biden’s student loan boondoggle is awful on so many levels. 

NM’s state government spends the most of any state in the nation. 

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Funding “sufficiency” or shared burden at Spaceport America

As we have noted time and time again, New Mexico’s Spaceport has never lived up to expectations (it will have been open for 11 years this October). And, while the Legislature has generally accepted the continued failure of the promised manned space tourism industry to “take off,” hearings occasionally shed light on the topic.

In this story KOB Channel 4 cites Spaceport personnel claiming that 65% of the Spaceport’s operating expenses are generated by leases and customers. The same article notes that the “Legislature provided about $2 million in general fund dollar.”

So, in addition to the $250 million taxpayers fronted to build the facility, it continues to cost taxpayers millions more to operate annually. And (news flash) it’s not going to be “self sufficient” anytime soon.

And that brings us to Sen. Joe Cervantes’ wish that taxpayers statewide help pay down construction bonds on the white elephant near Truth or Consequences. A regional gross receipts tax, approved in 2009 is levied in Sierra County, but a vast majority of the funding comes from Doña Ana County. According to the New Mexican, “Half of the estimated $250 million investment in the facility came from the Legislature, and the other half is being covered by the (local) gross receipts tax.”

Cervantes took to Twitter to (aptly) compare funding of the two Bill Richardson-era projects the Spaceport and Rail Runner (both of which the Rio Grande Foundation has long-criticized as wasteful boondoggles).



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Albuquerque area education open house

Are you concerned about what is being taught in Albuquerque Public Schools classrooms? How about local private schools? Do you want more education choice? Or, are you interested in finding out more about the new Mom’s For Liberty chapter which will be engaging in education advocacy throughout Bernalillo County?  Perhaps you’d even want to start a chapter elsewhere?

You are invited to attend an education open house. Details and RSVP information on this free event below.

Or you can RSVP Here


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What preliminary polls seem to say…a majority of New Mexicans are okay with failure

“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” (New Mexico voters apparently) The source of this quote is often said to be Albert Einstein, but if newly-released polls for New Mexico Gov. and other statewide offices are to be believed, New Mexico voters seem to think that the party that has dominated New Mexico politics since 1929 (the Democrats) is doing a fabulous job.

New Mexico DOES have a massive $2.5 billion surplus thanks largely to the oil and gas industry which many Democrats love to hate and which they would like to get rid of.  I won’t recount all the myriad ways in which New Mexico badly trails other states in terms of policy-influenced outcomes, but it is not pretty. New Mexico trails nearly every other state on most major economic, COVID, education, and crime policies.

Are New Mexicans simply resigned to failing relative to other states? Do they feel comfortable knowing that 40% of the State budget comes from an industry (oil and gas) that the ruling party both in NM and nationally wishes to destroy?

Do they care that young people are moving out of state to find jobs, better schools, and less crime?

Do they care that Michelle Lujan Grisham unnecessarily locked their children out of school for over a year with nothing to show for it  but massive learning loss?

Do they care that New Mexico ALREADY has a doctor shortage and that a newly-passed medical malpractice law will only worsen the situation.

New Mexico is an extremely unique place for many reasons: great weather, beauty, outdoor activities, and culture, but it also seems to have a uniquely-self destructive bent to its politics. None of this is to say that one or the other political party has all the answers, but that over 90 years of single-party legislative rule is not working.



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New Mexico’s self-inflicted doctor shortage

The Eastern New Mexico News Homepage

There is a life-or-death issue facing New Mexicans. It has been widely reported on in the media and is important to New Mexicans from all walks of life. Voters will have a lot to say about it this November. The issue is our shortage of medical professionals.

If you live in rural New Mexico you have likely faced severe challenges in finding specialists for years, but according to one recent report, 32 of New Mexico’s 33 counties (excepting Los Alamos) face a shortage of primary care physicians. This doesn’t even consider the shortage of specialists which is even more pronounced in certain fields.

Reports have reiterated the fact that (as our population ages and our doctors age as well), our State faces an even greater need for doctors in the years ahead.

Like most challenges facing New Mexico, poor public policy is a problem. The most obvious reform needed is for the Legislature to repeal HB 75, which passed in the 2021 session and was signed by Gov. Lujan Grisham. Implementation of the law was subsequently delayed, but if it is it will make New Mexico an even less attractive place for doctors to work than it already is, worsening our shortage of medical professionals.

Here are a few details:

The Medical Malpractice Act (HB 75) increased the cap on malpractice lawsuits. That means physicians can be sued for a great deal more for punitive (punishment) damages, up to $4 million. That number rises to $6 million in just a few years. To give a comparison, in doctor-friendly Texas, the cap is limited to $250,000).

Because the cap is so high now, many Insurance Companies won’t cover doctors in private practices that do procedures like colonoscopies or other in-office surgeries. In other words, doctors can’t get malpractice insurance to cover them because they are too risky to insurance companies.

As one prominent Democrat doctor wrote in an article written earlier this year, “Our Governor is aware of the issues, but Democrats are often influenced by the Trial Attorneys because they are big contributors to the Democratic Party and, of course, they stand to gain a whole lot of money from such a large increase in the ‘cap.’

Another self-inflicted misstep that has resulted in a loss of medical professionals is Gov. Lujan Grisham’s vaccine mandate on medical professionals. While specific numbers are hard to come by, it is hard to justify such a mandate given that COVID vaccines have not prevented the spread of COVID. In August 2021 media reports quoted Dr. David Scrase as saying 90% of nurses were vaccinated and roughly 3,000 healthcare workers in New Mexico were unvaccinated.

We don’t know exactly how many medical professionals left New Mexico due to the Gov.’s vaccine mandate, but even a few hundred is far too many. And, the Gov.’s vaccine mandate continues to remain in effect along with her public health orders.

Finally, a simple way to attract more doctors is to stop taxing them. Although often hidden from the public, doctors in New Mexico often must pay gross receipts tax on services provided to Medicaid patients and “fee for service” patients.

Lawmakers recently announced the State has a $2.5 billion surplus headed into the 2023 legislative session. Reform of the gross receipts tax, including repeal of this tax on medical services, is a must that can be done with minimal revenue loss.

The U.S. Census Bureau estimates more than 30 percent of New Mexico’s population will be over age 60 by the year 2030, an increase of nearly 50 percent from 2012. All of us need doctors, but as New Mexico ages the need becomes critical. There is no panacea, but these are some of  the worst policy obstacles to attracting medical providers to our State.

Paul Gessing is president of New Mexico’s Rio Grande Foundation. The Rio Grande Foundation is an independent, nonpartisan, tax-exempt research and educational organization dedicated to promoting prosperity for New Mexico based on principles of limited government, economic freedom and individual responsibility

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California bans sale of internal combustion vehicles: what does it mean for New Mexico?

UPDATED: This piece has been updated to reflect that New Mexico has not formally committed itself to adopting California’s new rule.

Today, August 25, 2022, the California Air Resources Board, voted to eliminate the sale of internal combustion engines in the State of California by 2035. Here’s an article about the policy and confirmation that they indeed have enacted it.

How does this apply to New Mexico? As RGF discussed in National Review and other news outlets a few months ago, Gov. Lujan Grisham (acting through an unelected board) has ordered New Mexico to follow California’s “clean car” rules. That means, what California does, we may do the same if MLG wishes to stick with California.

California’s rule also mandates 35% of new vehicles sold in 2026 be zero-emission with increasing percentages each year. In New Mexico during the first quarter of 2022 “electric vehicles” accounted for just 3.66% of new vehicle sales.

So, IF Michelle Lujan Grisham were to be reelected and thus keep New Mexico in lockstep with California, the number of EV’s sold in New Mexico will have to grow 10X as a percent of ALL vehicles sold in just four years.

Electric Vehicles Unclean At Every Speed - Electric Cars Don't Solve The Automobile's Environmental Problems

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Episode 432: Caleb Kruckenberg – Defending Charter Schools taking on administrative law

The Biden Administration recently issued regulations attacking charter schools. The Rio Grande Foundation submitted comments against this attack, but we and other charter advocates were ignored. Caleb Kruckenberg is an attorney with Pacific Legal Foundation. He is suing the Biden Administration over this issue. Paul and Caleb also discuss the use and abuse of administrative law and how it impacts this and other important public policies.

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