New Mexico no longer last in nation for child well-being

Updated: 07/22/2014 8:20 AM | Created: 07/22/2014 8:06 AM
By: Nikki Ibarra, KOB Eyewitness News 4

It's a number some have been waiting all year for–where does New Mexico rank in terms of child well-being?

In 2013, the Kids Count Report put the state at 50. This year, New Mexico is 49. "I'm happy we're not 50th, but it's nothing really to celebrate," said Veronica Garcia with New Mexico Voices for Children.

Garcia said they're calling the change "insignificant."

"We're playing hopscotch with Mississippi and that we're still at the very bottom of the pile," Garcia said.

Each year, states are ranked according to how well kids are doing in four groups: economic well-being, education, health and family and community.

From there, certain indicators are analyzed, like high school graduation rates–which have improved in New Mexico–and the teen birth rate. But that's not enough for a significant improvement. Things have gotten worse in some areas, like kids living in high-poverty areas and eighth graders who aren't proficient in math.

"We're no longer doing worst for kids. We're doing second worst," said Ellen Bernstein with the Albuquerque Teachers Federation.

Bernstein adds more needs to be done, especially on early education and poverty.

"If you ask any teacher, the one thing that would really improve the lives of kids is an attention on poverty. It's time to stop paying lip service and step up and do something," Bernstein said.

Related Links:
New Mexico Kids Count Profile
2014 Kids Count Report

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