The closure of Our Lady of Fatima Catholic School in Albuquerque is nothing short of a tragedy. Both the reasons for the closure AND the closure itself SHOULD have all New Mexicans concerned about our State.
For starters, it is by no means the only New Mexico school seeing an enrollment decline. The precipitous drop in enrollment at Albuquerque Public Schools is well-documented. And, while recent reports note the rising popularity of home schooling nationally, New Mexico was hardly a leader in that area.
The truth is that while birth rates have plummeted nationwide, New Mexico is ALSO seeing an exodus of young people and families.
Of course, closure of a Catholic school is ALSO a tragedy because Catholic schools are potentially a solution for what ails New Mexico’s education system which is ranked dead last in study after study on the topic. On the other hand, if Catholic schools were a state, they would be the highest performing state in the country.
Sadly, year after year school choice proposals are brought before our Legislature that would make Catholic schools a more realistic option for thousands of New Mexico families, yet nothing is done.
Finally, while no one would confuse the Catholic schools with a for-profit enterprise, the fact that unlike APS which continues to lose students but refuses to close schools, the Catholic Schools operate under actual budgetary constraints. They can’t rely on more money from Santa Fe every year.