New Mexico ranks near the bottom in yet another national report on educational achievement.
Education Week’s Quality Counts released its annual state report card Thursday, and New Mexico earned a D. The state ranked 49th in the nation, ahead of Nevada and Mississippi. The report includes the District of Columbia.
This is Education Week’s 19th Quality Counts report card on states’ educational standings. In the past few years, New Mexico has moved up and down between an F in 2010 — the year before Gov. Susana Martinez took office — to a C in 2011, 2012 and 2013, and a D-plus last year.
One reason the state dropped to a D in 2015 might be because the report eliminated one measure used in previous years: policies that improve student achievement.
“New Mexico tended to fare well on some of those policy measures,” Sterling C. Lloyd, a senior research associate for the Education Week Research Center, said by phone Thursday.
The report ranks states on how well they prepare students for college and careers, K-12 achievement and school finance.
New Mexico got a D+, D- and D+ in those three areas, respectively.
Though the state’s ranking has not improved much in the past decade in any national report, Lloyd said it is making progress in some areas. It has climbed seven spots in the national rankings in gains made in both fourth-grade math tests (13th) and eighth-grade math tests (14th) between 2003 and 2013.
But it ranks 50th in overall reading proficiency, with just 21.5 percent of students reading at grade level. The national average is 34 percent.
Martinez has tried and failed to get the Legislature to back her plan to retain third-graders who cannot read, arguing that such a policy would increase their chances to graduate and succeed in the long run.
She aims to pursue that plan again during the upcoming 60-day legislative session, and as of Thursday at least one bill — Senate Bill 66, introduced by Sen. Gay Kernan, R-Hobbs — has already been pre-filed to support that initiative.
The Quality Counts report does not look into specific policies that may have made an impact, Lloyd said, so it is not possible to link retention policies to academic success.
Most of the report is based on data through 2012, but graduation rates only go to 2010, and therefore New Mexico’s ranking doesn’t fully reflect the gains the state has made between 2007 and 2012 — from a graduation rate of about 60 percent to over 74 percent.
New Mexico ranks 36 in per-pupil spending at $9,736, according to the report, while the national average is $11,735.
The state’s education budget is about $2.7 billion, but state Public Education Secretary-designate Hanna Skandera plans to ask the Legislature for an additional $68 million in spending this coming year.
The Quality Counts report relies on data from the National Assessment for Education Progress, The National Center for Education Statistics and the U.S. Census Bureau.
Contact Robert Nott at 986-3021 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
On the Web
• Visit www.edweek.org/ew/qc/ to view the whole report.