State’s education excellence drive should continue

Finally. New Mexico made it to the top of an education ranking. The state’s high school graduation rate increased faster than any other state from 2007 through 2012. That’s excellent news for the state, its students and its schools.

But despite boosting its rate of seniors graduating in four years by 15 percentage points over that period, its current 74 percent graduation rate leaves plenty of room for more improvement. Even with the jump, New Mexico is ranked 44th, according to an Education Week study that calculated the rates based on a survey from the National Center for Education Statistics. Nationally, the graduation rate was 81 percent in 2012, up 7 percentage points since 2007, the report said.

Progress is being made. And that is cause for celebration in a state where fourth-grade reading scores tied with Washington, D.C., at the bottom in the 2013 nation’s report card, the National Assessment of Educational Progress. And where eighth-grade reading and fourth-grade math scores hovered at third from the bottom.

Of course, credit goes to the students who decided to stick it out and take this important step — and their parents and teachers. But continued emphasis on education reform also contributed. With some degree of success in the rearview mirror, New Mexico should not let up on the gas pedal in its drive for education excellence.

— Albuquerque Journal