KUNM

early childhood education

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New Mexico’s poverty rate is getting even worse for children under five years old, according to new numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Now some child advocates and state legislators are renewing their calls to use money from the state’s permanent fund to pay for childhood programs. 

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Lawmakers and educators in New Mexico have been talking about the achievement gap in public schools for years—and trying to figure out how to close it. Testimony in a landmark education trial underway in Santa Fe touched on early childhood education programs this week. The lawsuit says they’re crucial to making sure students of color, children from families with low incomes and English language-learners succeed. But those programs aren’t widely available. 

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Lawmakers considered proposals Monday that would use a small share of the state’s Land Grant Permanent Fund to pay for early childhood education, and the measures ran into familiar roadblocks.

For the past five years, some democratic lawmakers have tried to tap into the state’s $14 billion Land Grant Permanent Fund to pay for early childhood education programs.

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This week President Obama signed the Every Student Succeeds Act into law, replacing the controversial No Child Left Behind Act. The new law gets rid of many of the standardized testing requirements that had been in place under No Child Left Behind, and gives states more leeway in designing their own education standards.

Public Health New Mexico spoke to U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich, who supported the bill, about what the changes mean for our state.

Kids, Parents To March For Early Childhood Education

Feb 12, 2015
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A ton of little kids and their parents will take to the steps of the Roundhouse on Friday. The 1000 Kid March is calling for lawmakers to fully fund early childhood education.

It would cost nearly $400 million a year to pay for things like childcare and preschool for all eligible low-income families in New Mexico. The state spends just a fraction of that now.

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New Mexico is one of the worst states in the nation when it comes to measurements of child wellbeing–49th according to the Kids Count Report.

Thursday at 7p on New Mexico PBS, a panel explores early childhood education as a possible solution. It's this month's episode of Public Square, a monthly public affairs program where civic dialogue takes center stage.

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Thursday at 8p New Mexico PBS premieres the fourth season of Public Square, a monthly public affairs program where civic dialogue takes center stage.

Tune in tonight for the full discussion. The panel takes up the question of how to improve child well-being in New Mexico. We are 49th in the nation, according to the annual Kids Count Report.