This story is part of the State of Change project, produced in partnership with the Solutions Journalism Network. In New Mexico, computer science courses are not mandated by the state. Many schools in metropolitan areas offer these courses, but few rural school districts do. However, one rural school district has turned to New Mexico’s Supercomputing Challenge, an annual science and engineering competition, to offer computer science education. Melrose, New Mexico, may be small, but that hasn’t stopped its school from competing in the competition.
In December, Reuters published a map on childhood lead poisoning across the nation. The story and accompanying map, “Off the Charts: The thousands of U.S. locales where lead poisoning is worse than Flint,” looked at where children were tested for lead and how many had high levels of the metal in their blood. Severe lead poisoning can lead to seizures, coma and death, according to the Centers for Disease Control. For children, there is no such thing as a safe exposure to lead, which causes permanent neurological damage and behavioral disorders. Even though lead paint and lead additive in gasoline were banned decades ago, the ongoing Flint, Michigan emergency highlighted that lead poisoning is still a problem in the United States.