Black Track: September 9, 2022

Resources For Our Children

Recently the statewide student proficiency rates were released for New Mexico, and it was not necessarily flattering news. This is a state that cares about the development of our children’s futures and about providing access to the best education possible. The numbers from the study remind New Mexicans that there is still more work to be done. New Mexico has already started exploring ways to improve testing results. However, making sure our African American children aren’t being left out of those plans is essential.

News outlets have been reporting on the impact that COVID has had on our children’s learning. According to an article published in March of 2022 by Brooking Institution, there is a higher concern about the lower scores in elementary schools with students from low-income and high-poverty areas. The scores for students in these identified schools have dropped by approximately 20% in math and 15% in reading, primarily during the 2020-21 school year. Noticeably, more obvious drops in achievement have occurred between 2019 and 2022, indicating that disruptions continue to negatively impact these students even after the start of school closures following the spring of 2020 due to COVID. There was a national debate on school closures throughout media outlets from spring of 2020-2022, specifically on how to keep our children safe and to continue their education. With nearly three-quarters of New Mexico state students qualifying for free or reduced-price lunch programs, poverty remains a big problem. The statistics in New Mexico show 34% of public-school students in grades 3-8 were proficient in reading and 26% were proficient in math this spring. (Taros, 2022)

In New Mexico we are committed to re-evaluating what is being done in education for our youth and if it’s working for our population. “We are looking at the data with clear and eager eyes. We hold ourselves accountable to the students and their families and will work with our local school systems to identify and target schools and specific supports throughout the state.” (Matthew Goodlaw, Director student success and achievement exams) Santa Fe Public Schools are also re-evaluating how to best provide for their students with the results reporting a 34% proficient in language arts and 24% in math. (Taros, 2022)

The state has reported that new achievement exams will help to properly assess progress in the future. These new measures of student success will also help to identify progress areas and department will be able to focus its resources. The Public Education Secretary Kurt Steinhaus said, “This test is the best tool I’ve seen so far in New Mexico that can use to make decisions to make adjustments to curriculum, to help parents understand what they might do from home to help their children.” (Taros, 2022) Let’s also make sure the schools are providing our children with what they need to be successful in school. The department has committed to boosting the achievement of African American students through extended learning time, trainings that have culturally relevant teaching techniques, by partnering with local organizations; and by using strategies to engage families. So as the state does its part in making sure our children don’t get left behind, let us continue to make sure that all available resources are exhausted to strategically increase our children’s overall education outcome. Review the Test Blueprint of the new measurements.