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Assessment praises New Mexico’s pre-K progress

May 16, 2016
AccessEconomics and FinanceGovernance and AccountabilityQuality and CurriculumState & Local
Kim Burgess
Albuquerque Journal

 New Mexico has made strides on pre-kindergarten education, climbing from 28th to 18th in the nation for spending on pre-K programs. The new 2015 State Preschool Yearbook, released last week by Rutgers University’s National Institute of Early Education Research, complimented the state’s “significant progress through a concerted effort to increase enrollment and funding and improve quality.”

A total of 8,397 4-year-olds participated in New Mexico pre-K during the 2014-2015 school year at a cost of $39.6 million, according to the report – a boost from the 7,674 enrolled the year before at a budget of $27.2 million. State spending was $4,722 per child, slightly above the $4,489 national average. In addition, New Mexico met NIEER’s standard on eight of 10 pre-K quality measures, falling short only on degree requirements for teachers and assistant teachers.

Secretary of Education Hanna Skandera said the results reflect her administration’s commitment to early learning. “It shows that we have been responsible in our scaling, but aggressive,” Skandera told the Journal . “We are investing where it matters most and seeing more and more students have the opportunity to participate in pre-K and keeping the quality high, while still increasing the number of students participating and increasing our investments every year.”