NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


November 9, 2007

New Mexico has seen a variety of educational reforms over the years.  Unfortunately those reforms have done little to improve educational results, says Harry Messenheimer, Senior Fellow at the Rio Grande Foundation.

In fact, testing data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) -- which assesses 4th and 8th graders in reading, math, and science -- shows that New Mexico's rapidly increasing investment in K-12 education has failed to generate better results, says Messenheimer:

  • NAEP data show that New Mexico students have fallen further behind their peers nationwide than when testing began; this, despite years of "reform" and increasing spending.
  • Since 1989, K-12 spending has risen by 34 percent in real terms (adjusted for inflation and population) and gone from middle-of-the pack regionally to surpassing all other states in the region (Arizona, Colorado, Oklahoma, Texas, and Utah).

Further, Messenheimer finds that creating choices for parents and students within the educational system will improve outcomes.  One means of creating choice in New Mexico would be to allow individuals and businesses to take credits against their state tax bill for donations made to scholarship organizations that enable parents and students to choose the educational path that works for them."

Source: Harry Messenheimer, "Study Finds New Mexico Education Results Have Stagnated Despite Rapid Spending Growth: Alternatives Needed," Rio Grande Foundation, November 5, 2007.


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