Swickard: Deep despair for all the wrong reasons

© 2013 Michael Swickard, Ph.D. There is deep despair in New Mexico this week. The great state of Mississippi scored better than New Mexico in a contrived test of factors that may contribute to child success. New Mexico is last on a list called the 2012 Kids Count Data Book.
     Being dead last has some people twitterpated. If you listen closely you can hear people crying from Hobbs to Farmington and from Animas to Clayton, “Oh, how can we ever go on?”
     I am not one of the people concerned by the 2012 Kids Count Data Book. I looked at it closely and decided overall it is of dubious importance. There are things that New Mexico cannot change and there are things that are actually an attempt to change educational practice in New Mexico in ways that are harmful.
      Specifically: early childhood education, rather, early government-run childhood education is the new national craze to increase teacher employment. New Mexico, however, has not embraced this new fad to send babies to state run institutions, yet. Reportedly 62 percent of New Mexico children do not attend pre-school, which is one of the lowest rates in the nation. I am pleased by this and wish the other 38 percent would wise-up.
     The notion is that if parents send their 36 month old baby to a government run facility, it will increase the chance that the child will graduate from college. Everyone likes the sound of that but I request them to show me the study of this effect. Show me the data. There is not any data. It is a hoax.
     The world leaders in education do not institutionalize the education of their children until certain brain development stages are achieved. In Sweden and other Scandinavian countries, which lead the world in student achievement, their children start school at age seven. Read full column