Just like baseball or other sporting event, when attending a New Mexico Legislative session or committee hearing, or watching from home live or an “on demand” archived game, you need a game program, a scorecard, and probably a drink.
The drink is particularly needed when the “team” you support is education in the 2017 NM legislative season. As shown below from the best game program possible, the Legislative Education Study Committee January 2017 Report to the Legislature, funding for NM public schools is no higher than it was back in FY 2009, while, of course, expenses have increased.
And while this long-time teacher remembers every February (at least since 1993) featuring talk of “THE SKY IS FALLING!!!!!1!1!,” this February’s outlook is particularly grim and dark. Revenue forecasts continue to show shortfalls, even after a special session slashed spending last year, and while a barrel of oil is up to $54.60 this morning at the time of writing, that price isn’t nearly high enough to significantly change the dour mood.
Ergo, reading this year’s game program is a history lesson in floundering and futility, kinda like any Chicago Cubs literature literature from around 1910 to last year. And atop the financial erosion and, of course, poor student performance has been the Martinez Administration’s grinding war on public school teachers.
For purposes of today’s brief post, we’ll eschew opinion and just present the factual results of that war, one being waged through much of the country, in a graph and a table from this year’s game program.
First, here’s the NM “T&E” from FY08 through FY17. No, “T&E” doesn’t mean “travel & expenses” here, instead the index reflects the additional funding program units generated by having better trained and more experienced teachers. As these folks are paid better, the state adjusts funding via this T&E Index :
In other words, a steady slide in high-trained, more experienced educators has snowballed in the past three years by about 16%. Regardless of one’s position on how to fix public education in New Mexico, that’s bad.
Meanwhile, here’s a look at the number of those completing NM college/university teacher preparation programs, SY09-10 through SY13-14:
That’s a drop of well over 20%. So we have significantly fewer brand-new teachers AND a dwindling pool of highly trained/experienced teachers. That’s not a good combination.
Tomorrow, we’ll keep looking through our game program for more such tidbits to be “enjoyed” as we follow our Education team through this session. As for our rooting interest, we can forget the pennant in 2017, and will be damn lucky to not end up in the basement.
And that will feel comfortable to us, as New Mexico is so accustomed to being in any statistical basement.