The public expressed concerns about adequate funding for rural schools, for non-tested subjects (like music, art and physical education), for native language and heritage. The public also emphasized that local school boards make decisions about local schools.We'd love to actually see AIR's study. It's really hard to believe that little things like reading, writing, and arithmetic weren't found in the responses, yet "native language and heritage" were. What people value in education is different from group to group and person to person. Public schools are not equipped - nor can they be equipped - to be all things to all people.
Educators called for a longer school year; more support staff to help at-risk students; lower staff-pupil ratios; and programs geared toward retention of native languages and cultures.
One person's "sufficient" education is another's woefully inadequate education. Relative terms like "sufficient" are meaningless since they don't have objective definitions. They are however, useful when attempting to make an argument for expanded funding for programs that already receive some 38% of the state's annual budget - especially during an economic crisis.
[The American Legislative Council's] recent study, the 15th edition of their "Report Card on American Education," shows that New Mexico's K-12 government-run education system is not only behind other states, but is falling further behind as time passes. According to the New Mexico-specific pages of the study which can be found here, The Land of Enchantment has fallen from 43rd to 48th since 1998 in ALEC's overall ranking. This, despite a more rapid increase in per-pupil spending than was found in other states (42% to 36.6%). Of course, this has not deterred New Mexico's educational establishment from demanding still more money to pour down this rat hole.According to Stewart, $335 MILLION dollars would provide a "sufficient" education for our children. Forget for a moment that we've already got a $500 MILLION budget shortfall. The Albuquerque representative would have us pour more money into a failing system.
For years we've been pouring BILLIONS of dollars into education. For years it seems that New Mexico has ranked near the bottom in education when compared to other states. We don't need to spend more money on education. We need to spend the $2.3 BILLION we already spend annually more effectively.
The easiest way to make education more efficient is to introduce competition. Yes, that means school choice... that means vouchers or something similar. Competition encourages excellence and punishes mediocrity. Monopolies that have access to virtually unlimited funding, promote mediocrity or worse. Our current public school system is nothing short of an education monopoly insuring that no matter how much we spend - $2.3 BILLION, $2.6 BILLION, $5 BILLION, or even $10 BILLION - that it will never be "sufficient."