Winston Brooks’ (and New Mexico’s) real problem: lack of education results

APS Superintendent has been suspended for three days for his recent bullying tweets. A few things struck me in today’s Albuquerque Journal when it comes to Brooks and education in New Mexico.

For starters, it appears that the sanitation department fires people for offensive behavior has higher personal conduct standards than APS. But the real issue involves the lack of success of New Mexico’s entire education system (of which APS is a big part). That failure is borne out in our scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) which also happened to be covered in today’s paper.

Of particular interest to Rio Grande Foundation and others in terms of NAEP performance is 4th grade reading. After all, the idea is that children are generally learning to read up until 4th grade and after that they are reading to learn in all subjects. These scores formed the basis for our research on the “Florida Model,” parts of which were embraced by Gov. Martinez and have been opposed by APS in the Legislature. Unfortunately, even Gov. Martinez has not (publicly) embraced broad-based school choice in the ways Florida and Arizona have.

As seen in the chart below, two states, Florida and Arizona, both of which have embraced school choice, are seeing improved results on the NAEP. Florida’s reforms have been particularly impressive, but Arizona (a state that is in many ways similar to New Mexico) has achieved positive results in recent years as well through a broad array of choice programs.