We have a long legacy of advocating for the children of New Mexico. Before New Mexico became a state, Sister Blandina Segale came to New Mexico where she started the first public schools. She lobbied the territorial legislature to fund their own public school system. In 1882 she was the advocate for and pass a bill that established the Industrial Schools or Public Schools.
The bill stated the following,
“Whereas, The advancement and prosperity of this Territory are largely dependent upon the education of its people; and, Whereas, There are within its limits numerous orphans and other indigent children without home, influence or moral protection and destitute of the means of education and decent livelihood; and, Whereas, The same children, who, if left to ignorance, destitution and misery, would become elements of serious evil in our midst and entail great public expense in the prevention and suppression of crime, will, if protected and fostered, become a source of wealth, intelligence and moral support to the commonwealth, therefore, Be it Enacted by the Legislative Assembly of the Territory of New Mexico: There shall be created a Board of Charities and Industrial Schools in this territory.”
We continue this legacy by advocating for all of the children who do not have access to high quality early childhood services like Home Visiting, child care assistance, and pre-school. In New Mexico we have the highest rate of child poverty in the nation. The cycle of poverty in our state is endemic, but we have the solution. High quality early childhood education for all children has the power to solve poverty. We do not receive government funding and therefore are in a unique position to prioritize child well-being above all else when it comes to our advocacy work. If we need to take on hard issues to reach our goal, we do so.
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Key Concepts of Child Development (Videos) – Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University: These key scientific concepts are the building blocks of the core story of child development. Each page within this section provides a concise overview of a different key concept and aggregates a variety of resources created by the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child and the Center on the Developing Child.
Early Health & Education Prevent Chronic Disease – Professor James Heckman, PhD: New research from Professor Heckman and colleagues shows that quality early childhood programs that incorporate health and nutrition help prevent chronic disease. Findings reveal substantially better health in the mid-30s with a lower prevalence of risk factors for cardiovascular and metabolic diseases, such as stroke and diabetes.
Home Visiting: Supporting Parents and Child Development – Zero to Three: The following resources and tools will help policymakers and professionals understand the importance of investing in Home Visiting programs and support the implementation of Home Visiting programs as part of a comprehensive and coordinated system of services for young children and their fami
High-Quality Early Childhood Education
We can transform our state into a place where all children can grow up to be happy and healthy by creating a comprehensive, high quality system of early childhood across the state in every community and for every child in need. The unmet need, as demonstrated in our most recent study by Catherine F. Kinney, is $405 million per year for the following kinds of services: Home Visiting, Enhanced referral services, Child care assistance, Pre-Kindergarten, Quality improvement, Accountability and Evaluation.
New Mexico is a resource rich state. Our children are beneficiaries of one of the world’s largest reserves of natural resources. Royalties from these resources, mostly oil and gas, go into our Land Grant Permanent Fund (Fund) which currently totals $15 billion. When the Fund was created in 1910 it was dedicated to the education of our children. Now, we are advocating to update the antiquated understanding of education to include the formative early years. Permanent Funds for Early Childhood, Constitutional Amendment is a proposal which asks that legislators send a constitutional amendment to the voters to approve investing an additional 1% from the Fund into high quality early childhood education programs. Since this campaign started in 2010, the Fund has grown by $5 billion, surviving the Great Recession and the drop in oil and gas prices. The fund is healthy, but our children are not. During this same time period child well-being in New Mexico has gone from 46th in the nation, according to the Annie E. Casey Kids Count Progress Report, down to 50th and has remained at 49th for the past several years. We can do better by our children, but we need to make our children’s well-being a priority.
Considerable research has gone into our advocacy position. The following are economic studies, early childhood systems analyses, legal memos and polls that demonstrate the feasibility of this policy solution to fund early childhood education. To learn more visit InvestInKidsNOW.org.
- New Mexico Early Childhood Education: An Assessment of the Unmet Need, Catherine F. Kinney, MSW PhD, Kinney Associates LLC, February 2017
- The Impact of Transferring Resources from New Mexico’s Land Grant Permanent Fund to Early Childhood Education, Advantage Business Consulting, November 2015
- Analysis of Transferring Resources from New Mexico’s Land Grant Permanent Fund to Early Childhood Education, Advantage Business Consulting, January 2014
- Land Grant Permanent Fund: Opportunity for Early Childhood Investment: A Summary of the Evidence and an Example of Possible Fund Uses, Catharine F. Kinney, MSW, PhD, Kinney Associates, LLC, January 2012
- Legal Memo, Brownstein, Hyatt, Farber, Schreck, January 2012
- St. Joseph’s Community Health Early Childhood Survey, Research and Polling, INC., October 2011
- Early Childhood Education Survey Memo, Research and Polling Inc. Brian Sanderoff, President and Matt Hughes, Senior Vice President, September 2011
We must emphasis that we have a real crisis in our state. So many of our children are in peril as they grow up living in deep poverty. High quality early childhood programs nurtures meaningful relationships with their parent or primary caregiver and this is what buffers the negative affect poverty has on child development.