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Consultants to the Public Education Department have been in the news the past few weeks.
Use of the consultants has been called everything from a waste of money to insulting to a scam, the latter epithet coming from an Albuquerque Journal columnist.
Before addressing the charges, consider public education in New Mexico. In general, we spend more money and get less than nearly every state.
According to the National Education Association, during 2009 we spent $10,999 for each student in our public K-12 schools.
That’s 11 percent of our personal income, says the National Center for Education Statistics. For that money, we are 48th in the percentage of public school eighth graders reading at the appropriate level. Not quite 62 percent of high school students graduate, reports the center.
In comes Gov. Susana Martinez, who decides fresh leadership is needed for education in New Mexico, an insight comparable in obviousness to the decision to bring outside leadership to the bankrupt General Motors.
Martinez found Hanna Skandera, a 30-something former education department administrator for former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who did good things for public education.
Former Gov. Bill Richardson’s Public Education Department was authorized for 19.4 exempt, i.e. political, employees, including the department secretary.
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