A quality education can be a reliable route out of poverty.
Child poverty and low educational outcomes are directly related. New Mexican children are consistently ranked at the bottom in the nation on nearly every indicator of educational achievement, including reading and math proficiency, graduation rates, and college enrollment. New Mexico’s children are also overwhelmingly poor. The latest Census data finds that a full 68% of New Mexican children are low-income, while 29% live at or below the federal poverty level. Research consistently shows that poverty is the most significant barrier to a child’s success in school. To significantly improve educational outcomes in our state, we must reduce childhood poverty and improve our schools’ capacity to address the needs of children living in poverty.
The poor educational performance of New Mexico’s low-income students threatens their future economic security leading to a cycle of poverty that is difficult to break.
The Center is pressing a lawsuit against the state for failing to meet its obligations under the state constitution to provide a sufficient and uniform public education system. We also work to promote practical ways to improve the educational outcomes of New Mexico’s students by educating lawmakers about effective programs that serve low-income and at-risk students. Some of the programs we support include pre-kindergarten, summer school, tutoring, afterschool programs, and other extended learning opportunities. We are also working to keep students in the classroom by fighting punitive discipline practices that push kids out of school and into the juvenile justice system.
Our public schools need additional resources to provide programs proven to improve the educational outcomes of students most in need.
- Executive Summary: “Alleviating Poverty Will Improve Education In New Mexico” (January 2014)
- Report: “Alleviating Poverty Will Improve Education In New Mexico” (January 2013)