July 23, 2018
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Marie-Pier Frigon, Communications Assistant, NM Voices for Children, 505-244-9505
ALBUQUERQUE, NM—James Jimenez, executive director of New Mexico Voices for Children, issued the following statement regarding the judge’s decision in the lawsuit filed against New Mexico contending that the state fails to fully fund its K-12 educational system as specified in its constitution:
“New Mexico Voices for Children is satisfied with the judge’s ruling in Yazzie/Martinez v. State of New Mexico.
“Across the nation, children of color and children from low-resource families are much more likely to face barriers to success in school and beyond. These children are more likely than their white peers to go to schools that are underfunded and that struggle to attract the best teachers. These children are more likely to be behind even before they enter the schoolhouse doors.
“These children are just as capable as any other children. But they face an opportunity gap and they are served by an underfunded educational system that is cut from a culturally biased cloth.
“The same is true for New Mexico’s children. The big difference is this: New Mexico has the highest rate of child poverty in the nation and the second highest rate of children who belong to non-white races and ethnicities. In other words, a bigger share of New Mexico children face barriers to success than in any other state.
“Given the many challenges faced by our children, New Mexico should be making whatever investments are necessary to ensure that every child has the opportunity to thrive and achieve success.
“Instead, over the last decade New Mexico has made some of the deepest cuts to K-12 education in the country, according to a report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. While some funding was restored during the 2018 legislative session, we are still far behind where we should be on a per-student, inflation-adjusted basis. As was reiterated in the judge’s statement: the lack of funding is no excuse, New Mexico needs to take immediate steps to meet our constitutional obligation to our kids.
“It is past time to make the investments necessary to ensure that all of our children enter school ready to learn and that they are enrolled in a first-rate educational system that is responsive to their cultural identity, and this upcoming year provides a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to strengthen our state’s future by investing in our children.”
New Mexico Voices for Children is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization advocating for policies to improve the health and well-being of New Mexico’s children, families and communities. 625 Silver Ave. SW, Suite 195, Albuquerque, NM 87102; 505-244-9505 (p); www.nmvoices.org