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HomeNewsNew Mexico 50th in Education – Again

New Mexico 50th in Education – Again

The 2024 KIDS COUNT Data Book, an annual report by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, reveals that New Mexico is still ranked last in the nation in education.

This is the eighth year in row New Mexico has ranked 50th in education.

Released June 10, the Data Book provides a comprehensive analysis of child well-being across the United States, with a particular focus this year on adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and chronic absenteeism.

To determine state rankings, the Annie E. Casey Foundation uses four domains: Economic Well-Being, Education, Health, and Family and Community. Each domain consists of four indicators which are measured, and used to determine a state’s ranking. In education, New Mexico retains its place at the bottom, joined by Mississippi at 49th, and Louisiana at 48th.

Annie E. Casey uses the National Assessment for Education Progress (NAEP) assessment to measure student proficiency. New Mexico’s most recent NAEP scores indicate only 21 percent of New Mexico’s fourth grade students are proficient in reading.

“Reading proficiency is critical for students to succeed academically and as adults,” explained Emily Wildau, KIDS COUNT Coordinator at New Mexico Voices for Children. “New Mexico’s ranking in the education domain is heavily impacted by national standardized test scores,” Wildau said. “Our K-12 students of color, those from low-income families, and those with disabilities tend to fare worse than their white, more affluent peers. This is largely due to generations of underfunding and a lack of culturally responsive instruction and support.”

Wildau explained, “These scores do not reflect the ability of our children, but rather an education system that is not designed with our multicultural, multilingual students in mind.”

“New Mexico’s ranking is not a reflection of who we are but serves as a motivation to continue improving the systems that make it possible for kids and families to thrive,” said Gabrielle Uballez, Executive Director of New Mexico Voices for Children.

Key Points from the 2024 KIDS COUNT Book

On education, New Mexico ranks 50th in the nation. Interestingly, Mississippi, who ranks 49th in overall child well-being, ranks 30th for education. Louisiana, who ranked 48th in overall child well-being, ranks 42nd in education.

The four indicators measured in the Education domain are:

Young Children Not in School
Both nationally and in New Mexico, the group of students aged three and four who were not in school between 2018 and 2022 has increased. Nationally, 54 percent of students in this age group are not in school, two percent worse than 2013-17. In New Mexico, 59 percent of students in this age group were not in school, a one percent increase from 2013-17.

Fourth Graders Not Proficient In Reading
In New Mexico, the percentage of fourth grade students who cannot at grade level has increased from 76 percent in 2019, to 79 percent in 2022. Nationally, 68 percent of fourth graders cannot read at grade level, two percent worse than 2019.

Eighth Graders Not Proficient In Math
Nationally, students in eighth grade are doing worse in math than they did in 2019.  Across the country, eighth graders who cannot do math at grade level is 74 percent, a seven percent increase from 2019. In New Mexico the story is much worse. In 2019, 79 percent of New Mexico eighth graders could do math at grade level; in 2022, 87 percent of eighth graders could not do math at grade level. This is an eight percent increase.

High School Students Not Graduating on Time
Nationally, 14 percent of students are not graduating on time, the same as the previous data point (2018-2019). This is the one indicator in which New Mexico saw improvement. In 2020-2021, 23 percent of students were not graduating, a two percent improvement from 2018-2019 when 25 percent of students did not graduate on time.

On economic well-being, the Annie E. Casey Foundation ranked New Mexico 48th in the nation.

On health, New Mexico ranked 44th in the nation. Mississippi ranked 50th on health, and Louisiana ranked 49.

On family and community, New Mexico ranked 49th in the nation. Mississippi ranked 50th and Louisiana ranked 48 in the nation.

With all of the metrics, New Mexico’s overall rank in child well-being remains at 50th, unchanged from last year.

In almost every metric, New Mexico, Mississippi, and Louisiana are together in 48th, 49th, and 50th place – except one.Mississippi is ranked 30th in education.