New Mexico In Depth editors held the second of five online chats about the 2024 legislative session yesterday. Indigenous Affairs reporter, Bella Davis, joined Executive Director Trip Jennings and Managing Editor Marjorie Childress to chat about education in general, and tribal education specifically.
Childress mentioned that 42% of the proposed $10 billion state budget was earmarked for education. Education is “always a big ticket item,” said Jennings. Both mentioned low proficiency rates and low graduation rates as big educational challenges as New Mexico attempts to improve instruction for the 305,000 children enrolled in public schools around the state as well as move the state up the national education rankings. The backdrop to the conversation was the 2018 landmark Yazzie Martinez lawsuit, which found the state had violated the educational rights of Native American, English language-learners, disabled and low-income children.
Davis went into detail about three legislative initiatives that would allocate public dollars to tribal education efforts, including bringing more teachers into the educational system from under-represented communities.