Under Santa Fe Skies

by Susan Tungate

Life Is Not A Bowl of Cherries for New Mexico Children

Not even Mississippi could save New Mexico. According to the 2013 Kids Count Data Book issued by the nonprofit Annie E. Casey Foundation this week, New Mexico ranks last in the country on the economic well-being, health, education, and family and community support of children. Dead last.

 

Some depressing statistics for New Mexico:

about 31% of children are living in poverty;

approximately 11% of teens neither attend school nor work;

nearly 80% of fourth grade students are not reading at their grade level;

more than 75% of eighth graders are not proficient in math;

43% of children live in single parent families;

22% of children live in families in which the head of household lacks a high school

diploma.

 

A study issued last week ranked the states for child hunger. Where was New Mexico? Dead last. One out of three of New Mexico’s children wake up not knowing if they will have food to eat that day.

 

In addition and not surprisingly New Mexico has one of the highest unemployment rates. Albuquerque was recently ranked the lowest city in the country for job growth.

 

When will the powers that be in New Mexico support parents and all New Mexicans on the path to economic success and enhance the development of children in all areas? When will all the children of New Mexico have a chance for a productive, fulfilling life? Who wants to look them in the eyes and say never? Who wants to look them in the eyes and say we will plant the seeds today?

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