SANTA FE, N.M. – In today’s 2024 State of the State Address New Mexico Governor, Michelle Lujan Grisham highlighted several education initiatives including structured literacy, extended learning time and school improvement efforts. The bulk of her education remarks focused on improving reading outcomes, calling for the state to “double down” and “supercharge” its efforts to improve literacy.

Lujan Grisham formally requested $30 million in capital funding from the New Mexico Legislature to establish a Statewide Literacy Institute. In addition, she requested $30 million for a free summer literacy program aimed at ensuring 10,000 students achieve grade-level reading proficiency. In her remarks, Governor Lujan Grisham highlighted her intention on improving literacy, stating “Every student — and frankly, every New Mexican — should be given the opportunity to learn to read to the best of their ability.”

“Ensuring our students become proficient readers is essential to their success and the success of our state,” said Amanda Aragon, Executive Director of NewMexicoKidsCAN. “We know that investment in literacy is important, and we recognize that strong literacy policy is needed for the investment to yield returns. That is why NewMexicoKidsCAN is championing several early literacy initiatives that will move the ball forward and complement the Governor’s commitment to ensuring every student has the opportunity to learn to read.”

Governor Lujan Grisham made note of individuals who have been impacted by the state’s recent efforts related to early literacy. Recognitions included Stephanie Males, a parent from Berrendo Elementary School in Roswell, whose children greatly benefited from recently implemented structured literacy curriculum. The Governor also acknowledged Bella Chandler, a kindergarten teacher and structured literacy coach at S.Y. Jackson Elementary School in Albuquerque, who shared her classroom experiences transitioning to structured literacy on the New Mexico Rising Podcast last January.

The Governor’s call to strengthen efforts to improve literacy and education come at a pivotal moment in the state’s history. Data from the 2023 statewide assessment revealed that only 38% of New Mexico students are reading at grade level. Furthermore, results from the 2021 National Assessment of Educational Progress highlighted New Mexico’s literacy crisis. New Mexico ranked 50th in reading in both grade 4 and grade 8.


About NewMexicoKidsCAN: Launched in 2018, NewMexicoKidsCAN is a local non-profit organization that advocates for community-informed, student-centered and research-backed education policies. Connecting policy, instructional practice and politics the organization works to reimagine what is possible in New Mexico’s public education system to ensure New Mexico students become the future community, civic and business leaders New Mexico needs.

Amanda is the founding executive director of NewMexicoKidsCAN and an alumna of the 50CAN Education Advocacy Fellowship. She lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico.


Recent Posts

More posts from Press Releases

See All Posts