Improving our Children’s Futures

What You Need to Know About New Mexico’s Education System.

When it comes to educating our children, and the best way to do so, the topic soon becomes complex due to the many theories on how to impact and improve such a multi-faceted system. Viante New Mexico looked at all national rankings lists and keyed in on states that are excelling in education. We spoke with various education experts who have spent their life’s work seeking out best practices to implement them in New Mexico schools, including:

– Teachers
– Superintendents
– Non-profits
– Policy Makers

We were able to identify common ground principles from these conversations to help the board identify legislation would positively affect our school system and New Mexico’s placement on these national ranking benchmarks.

Our Metrics
4th Grade Reading and Math Scores

Most experts believe that third grade is the most pivotal year for students. If children do not have basic reading or math skills by this point, then it’s incredibly difficult for these children to get caught up. In order to appropriately and effectively compare New Mexico’s progress in this metric to the rest of the country, we are looking at a national test, National Assessment of Educational Progress, (NAEP). NAEP tests a representative sample of 4th and 8th graders in a variety of subject areas to gauge their comprehension. According to the Nation’s Report Card, New Mexico is 50th in the nation for our 4th grade reading scores and 50th in the nation for 4th grade math scores.

High School Graduation Rate and College Readiness

New Mexico has consistently come in last, or close to last, for our high school graduation rate. While this metric is not the end-all-be-all for measuring education, it’s a popular national metric that informs us if our kids are crossing the finish line or not. We are looking at this metric in tandem with proficiency through college readiness in the form of ACT scores. Our system needs to better prepare our students for their next steps in life whether its college or career.

Teacher Pay and Percent of a School's Budget that makes it to the Classroom
Studies have shown that overall, when more dollars are spent per pupil it has not equated to higher student performance. However, in New Mexico, when more dollars are spent specifically in the classroom students do have higher performance scores.  Classroom spending includes teacher pay, supplies, instructional support in the form of librarians and IT, principals, and student support in the form of counselors and nurses.
Pre-K Quality and Enrollment
Researchers have discovered that about 90% of a person’s brain growth occurs between the ages of 0-5 and that children who participate in prekindergarten programs enter kindergarten ahead of their peers in language, literacy, creativity, music, movement and social skills. They also score about 10% higher than their classmates on standard math and reading tests in the fourth and eighth grade. New Mexico is making strides to improve this important facet of our education system, but there is certainly room for improvement.

Did You Know

  • New Mexico is doing fairly well in our Pre-K enrollment & many of our policy makers are putting an emphasis on early childhood education.
  • The US average public school teacher salary is $61,189 – New Mexico ranks 36th with an average of $47,826.
  • 43% of New Mexico’s low graduation rate schools are in our state’s cities (primarily in Albuquerque, New Mexico).

New Mexico Education Statistics

A Snapshot of How We’re Doing

50th in Nation for Students Graduating High School


38% of 4-year-olds were enrolled in Pre-K in 2019

36th in the Nation for Teacher Pay

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