FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 6, 2017
Contact: James Hallinan (505) 660-2216
Balderas: It is unacceptable for New Mexico to be at the top of all the wrong lists as our children pay the price
Santa Fe, NM – Ahead of an expected House floor vote today, Attorney General Hector Balderas announced his endorsement of HJR 1 to fund early childhood education in New Mexico. Leaders in the New Mexico Legislature have proposed a constitutional amendment that would tap New Mexico’s natural resource wealth to support early childhood education. If enacted, the amendment would set aside a portion of investment returns from the Land Grant Permanent Fund to be used for these critical programs. New Mexico ranks first in child poverty and early childhood programs are shown to buffer children from the negative effects of poverty.
“The keys to happy, healthy, successful children include strong families and strong schools. To strengthen our families and schools, our state must invest wisely and effectively, and I believe HJR 1 is a responsible and prudent investment,” said Attorney General Balderas. “It is unacceptable for New Mexico to be at the top of all the wrong lists as our children pay the price. I respectfully ask the New Mexico Legislature to pass HJR 1 in order to protect and empower New Mexico’s children for generations to come.”
In their earliest years, children grow, learn, and develop at an extraordinary pace. Even before they enter kindergarten, they are building the foundations for adulthood. This includes social interactions, cultural practices, language skills, and emotional self-regulation. The New Mexico Early Learning Guidelines make clear that comprehensive, developmentally appropriate early education is a cornerstone of future success. Decades of research support this approach. Early learning leads to better grades, lower juvenile delinquency rates, and higher high school graduation rates.
Attorney General Balderas continued, “If the amendment becomes law, the Legislature will have to create an oversight mechanism to promote coordination among agencies and prevent wasted resources. As the chief law enforcement and oversight agency in New Mexico, my office will assist in all efforts to make sure that funds are invested appropriately.”
Attorney General Balderas believes that in the coming decades, HJR 1 will result in a stronger workforce, decreased dependency on social services, increased take-home pay for families, a more attractive place for businesses and private investment, and strengthen the state’s tax base. Additionally, during a time of economic strain, HJR 1 is projected to result in 4,000 new early childhood careers in the immediate future.
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