- On February 18, 2013
- In Press Release
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By: Rep. Kelly Fajardo (House District 7, Valencia County)
The concept of raiding our permanent fund for early childhood education is flawed. While we can all agree that we need legitimate reform in our education system, this is not the answer. For decades, it seems that the solution lawmakers have reached is to throw money at problems and hope that they will disappear. The truth of the matter is that it has not worked—and it will not work.
We cannot pour money into a broken system and simply hope for the best. That is not reform. That is not the type of change we owe the children of New Mexico. That is a band-aid solution at best.
I stand firmly in favor of enhancing our education system and strengthening our schools for our children and for future generations. However, this raid on the permanent fund will not be a lasting solution. The money, along with the hope that it will make a difference, will be gone in a matter of time, and we will be right back where we started.
We must look to genuine solutions that will implement lasting reform. Therefore, when looking at solutions for our education system, we must look to the root of the problems.
Earlier this year, our graduation rates showed improvement. 70 percent of New Mexico students now graduate from high school, and while we can celebrate that progress, we are faced with the sad fact that 3 in 10 do not. That is not a static; those numbers represent the New Mexico teenagers who slipped through the cracks.
We owe it to those teenagers—and to all the children of New Mexico—to do something. The problem begins early, and we need to implement early childhood intervention. We need to use our resources to make sure that children can read at grade level.
Additionally, we must pass reform that provides for the best possible teachers to be in our classrooms. These are steps we can take toward lasting change. With these reforms, we can truly make a difference in the lives of our children. By throwing money at the problem, we often skirt past the details that matter the most.
We must focus on our children’s future—not on instant gratification. This is not a problem that will have a quick fix, but we can find common ground and implement legislation that will have a lasting effect.