I just read that New Mexico was ranked 49th — next to last (the last being Mississippi) — in the overall well-being of children in the United States. “What it means is that from birth, a child in New Mexico doesn’t have equal access to the kind of opportunities that will help make them successful,” says Christine Hollis, program director of New Mexico’s Voices for Children.
The report indicates that 79 percent of New Mexico’s fourth-graders don’t read at a fourth-grade reading level in New Mexico. 76 percent of the state’s eighth-graders do not have the math skills needed for their grade level. Hollis hopes that low ranks for New Mexico will spur the state’s lawmakers into action. Perhaps even war?
On a bloody battleground here in Ruidoso, it appears that supporters of Superintendent Bea Etta Harris, currently on an expensive paid administrative leave, are hurling volleys of vitriol against an opposing army led by school board members Devin Marshall and Curt Temple who are retaliating with even more expensive volleys of venom as the two warriors try to keep themselves from being unseated from the school board. The actual cause of the battle? It has never been revealed. Is that so surprising? Americans often goes to war for no good reason.
But, as this costly local battle rages on, New Mexico’s students remain ill-prepared to take their place in society. The Ruidoso school system has chosen the wrong battle.