May 19, 2023

New report ranks New Mexico in top 10 for access to pre-K for three-year-olds

Jennifer Martinez, an early childcare worker, talks to a reporter about her experiences in the industry at a Kelly's Learning Center in Las Cruces.

A report released by the National Institute for Early Education Research ranks New Mexico near the top for access to pre-Kindergarten. 

The report ranks the state in the top 10 for access for three-year-old children for pre-K and ranks New Mexico as number 13 for access for four-year-old children for pre-K.

NIEER, a program of Rutgers University, also ranked New Mexico in the top 10 for state spending on early childcare and gave it a score of 9 out of 10 for a quality standards checklist. The reason the state didn’t receive a 10 out of 10 is because it does not require a B.A. as a minimum credential to be a lead teacher in the pre-K classroom, according to the report. A lead teacher in a nonpublic pre-K can be working toward a B.A. degree, according to the report.

Overall, 42 percent of New Mexico’s four-year-old children are attending pre-K, while 11 percent of the state’s three-year-old children are enrolled in pre-K.

The report focused on state-funded preschool education programs.

“When I took office, I promised to deliver free, universal Pre-K for New Mexico families,” Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham said through a news release. “We’ve made incredible progress by increasing access to early education, raising teacher salaries, and funding the largest PreK expansion in our state’s history. These investments establish New Mexico as a leader in early education. This is the solid foundation children in New Mexico deserve so they can learn, grown and thrive in the future.”