Universal Pre-K: New Mexico’s Bold Next Step

Last week, we asked our readers their opinion about every three and four year old having access to high-quality, universal pre-k. Responses indicated that high quality, universal pre-k is not only a priority for families with young children, but it is also of importance to our community as a whole, providing a strong, educational foundation for future generations as well as an opportunity for New Mexico to improve pay for pre-k teachers, many of whom utilize food stamps and Medicaid to help make ends meet. 

Our readers wrote to us with their pre-k stories- both the good and the bad, a reflection of the current state of our pre-k system. Some readers talked about the ways in which the pre-k system helped ready their own children for school, while educators chimed in about the difference they were able to see when a child has attended pre-k. Others, frustrated with the system, talked about the never-ending wait-lists, the lottery system that only serves a small portion of the population of three and four year olds, and the shameful pay that keeps some pre-k educators living in poverty. However troublesome, these stories are not new.

*URGENT* Don’t let education access be limited by age in New Mexico!

We just sent this email out to all our members. Please follow the links below and contact your legislator NOW! Dear Friend,

Today, a major piece of education legislation is being heard at the Roundhouse. HB 5 and companion bill SB 1, aim to make sweeping changes to the way public education is funding in New Mexico. These bills make significant strides toward improving our public education system particularly after years of our schools being neglected by those in power.

ProgressNow NM joins dozens of statewide orgs with ads supporting new Gov in ending methane waste

Today ProgressNow New Mexico joined with almost 30 (29!) New Mexico organizations in congratulating Governor-elect Michelle Lujan Grisham in a full-page ad in the Santa Fe New Mexican and in thanking her for her commitment to fighting methane waste in the state through comprehensive statewide rules. As noted in the ad, New Mexico oil and gas producers waste as much as $240 MILLION EVERY YEAR in natural gas (mostly made up of methane) that is either leaked or purposely flared or vented during production. That’s enough natural gas to heat EVERY home in New Mexico for a year. But, besides the actual loss of our valuable resources, that waste is also hurting our families in the state in more ways than one:

Wasted methane means wasted money- All that natural gas that producers aren’t capturing or are purposefully burning is costing the tax-payers of New Mexico over $27 MILLION every year in lost royalties. The oil and gas lobby loves to talk about how much they contribute back to the state, so why are they sending literal millions of dollar up in smoke every year?

Too Much At Stake To Not Vote

There’s plenty of reasons people use to excuse themselves from not voting. But in case you need a reminder of why every vote, and especially your vote is important, we simply need to look at our state’s national rankings on everything from education to healthcare. That’s right, we are last in everything! In fact, New Mexico was recently ranked 51st in the nation in terms of our level of political engagement.   

A highly engaged electorate that participates in the democratic process and holds our elected officials accountable is critical to having a well-functioning democracy.

Justice for NM students! Gov. Martinez loses education funding lawsuit, forced to sufficiently fund schools [UPDATED]

 

[UPDATE: Gov. Martinez’s Public Education Department has said they will appeal the judge’s decision that the state is required to provide more funding to students in NM. Gubernatorial candidate Michelle Lujan Grisham has said she will halt any appeal of the decision Gov. Martinez makes if she’s elected Governor. Steve Pearce has yet to make a similar determination. Read about it at NM In Depth.]

In a devastating rebuke to the failed education and funding policies of Gov. Susana Martinez (along with her conservative allies like the Rio Grande Foundation and conservative Democrats like Sen. John Arthur Smith), First Judicial District Court Judge Sarah Singleton handed down a huge win for New Mexico’s students Friday. You can’t put it more succinctly than the first line of the ABQ Journal’s article: “New Mexico is violating the constitutional rights of at-risk students by failing to provide them with a sufficient education.”

More pollution, less revenue for NM: Gov’s Environment dept. approves new “regulations”

Once again Governor Martinez and her administration are prioritizing their big oil and gas donors’ interests while putting New Mexicans at risk from increased methane pollution. Last week, the New Mexico Environment Department approved permits that do NOT require oil and gas wells to check for leaks of methane or other pollutants. This once again places New Mexico on the bottom of a an important list as these new rules, or really lack of any rules, are among the weakest environmental protections in the nation. Oh, and remember how leaked methane wastes taxpayers’ money to the tune of $244 MILLION every year? 

So what do the new permits and “regulations” do? Well, not much in terms of regulating anything. Of course, that’s just what groups like the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association spend so much money on every year lobbying in Santa Fe for.

Commissioner of Public Lands race presents some broad differences in future of the SLO

ProgressNow New Mexico will be looking at some top-level races more in-depth over the next few weeks to bring our perspective to the key races we’re expecting to see in New Mexico this year. New Mexico is in the national spotlight as one of the “most likely to flip” states in terms of our governor’s race. Our series will focus on the offices that New Mexicans can vote for statewide. This is the fourth piece in our series. The New Mexico State Land Office (SLO) is first and foremost charged with managing the vast amounts of land within our state’s borders, managing leases and sales to entities who use the land, and collecting monies from those sales and leases to fund education in the state.