Talking early education with southern NM lawmakers

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State Rep. Rebecca Dow, R-Truth or Consequences, and Sen. Bill Soules, D-Las Cruces, will talk about early childhood education at 5 p.m. Tuesday at Beck's Coffee House in Las Cruces.

At its most idealistic, New Mexico’s citizen legislature system draws people with expertise and passion for their fields who serve so that they can make a difference for the state and for their constituents.

That’s why I’m excited to talk with state Sen. Bill Soules, D-Las Cruces, and Rep. Rebecca Dow, R-Truth or Consequences, about early childhood education in New Mexico. It’s the kick-off of New Mexico in Depth’s Coffee Chats series in 2018 that will explore important issues with informal talks at venues across the state. The event will be at 5 p.m. Tuesday at Beck’s Coffee House in Las Cruces. And we’ll be broadcasting the talk live on our Facebook page.

Both Dow and Soules have a wealth of experience in education.  Soules is a longtime teacher in Las Cruces, has been an elementary and middle school principal and assistant provost at New Mexico State University Carlsbad, and is chairman of the SUCCESS Partnership, a coalition working for universal access to early childhood education in Doña Ana County. Dow is founder and director of AppleTree Educational Center in Sierra County, which provides early care and education, New Mexico PreK and Early PreK, K-12 private schooling and New Mexico Home Visiting. She is a consultant for for-profit and faith-based child-care providers and also represents New Mexico on the National Early Childhood Education Consortium and is on the governor’s Early Learning Advisory Council.

Some of the things I’d like them to break down for viewers is just what is it we’re talking about when we say “early childhood education”; do they think there is a realistic plan for early childhood that could work across rural and urban New Mexico; and is the $300 million we’re currently spending enough, or being used wisely? But those are just my questions. We’ll be opening up the conversation for the public to ask their own questions, in person and via the comments section of Facebook.

This event is being put on in partnership with the Las Cruces Sun-News and News Director Lucas Peerman will be moderating the conversation along with me. I also wanted to give a shout out to Tyrell Thacker and Arianna Parsons, the owners of Beck’s Coffee House for generously donating the venue and coffee. New Mexico in Depth and I hope you can join us.

— Sylvia Ulloa