top of page

New Mexico: Almost $1B for SPED, state still fails to serve disabled students

Nov 14, 2023, Report: Major increases in funding have not improved special education outcomes
Outcomes for students with disabilities in New Mexico's public schools remain poor despite huge increases in special education investments in the past decade, a new legislative report shows.

Neither individual school districts nor the state Public Education Department emerged unscathed in the program evaluation presented Tuesday morning to the Legislative Finance Committee.

The report found many public schools failed to fully utilize state and federal dollars for students with disabilities and that the department failed to adequately oversee and standardize the implementation of federally mandated special education services across districts.

With $716 million from the state and $119 million in federal dollars flowing toward special education this fiscal year and a newly established Office of Special Education within the Public Education Department — lawmakers heard from evaluators and top state education officials about how to leverage recent infusions of funding to improve student outcomes.

"A billion dollars just for special ed — and you can't get it done? It's not for a lack of money; it might be for a lack of trying or a lack of knowledge or a lack of training," said committee Chairman Sen. George Muñoz, D-Gallup.

He continued, "I'm on your team, so you need to tell me how we need to give you a hammer and an ax and say, 'You're going to do this.' "

Only two-thirds of disabled students in New Mexico public schools graduate from high school, state data shows. In 2013, about 5% of the state's fourth graders with a disability were proficient in reading. By 2022, that number dropped to just 3%.

In the same 10-year period, however, per-student spending on students with disabilities increased by 60%, from just over $6,500 in 2013 to nearly $10,500 in 2023.
Although the rate of disabled students in New Mexico also increased in the past decade — from 13% in 2013 to 17% in 2023, surpassing the national average — the data makes one thing clear: The state hasn't yet seen a return on its recent investments.

"There are clearly a lot of resources not being utilized fully. We're willing and able to invest additional resources, but we need to have that expertise ... to be as confident as possible in what these investments will yield," said Rep. Nathan Small, D-Las Cruces.

The program evaluation offers a few recommendations to make that money count.

First, the report indicates school districts are not using "ample available resources" to their full potential. Since 2018, evaluators found schools have underspent special education dollars by an average of $105 million annually across the state.

Part of that underspending is likely due to vacant teacher positions. The state is short about 270 special education teachers, according to the latest teacher vacancy report from the Southwest Outreach Academic Research Evaluation and Policy Center at New Mexico State University….

1 Comment

How U.S. schools "teach" Japanese language to students:

(How do you say 'fart' in Japanese) - Vinesauce Grossology

Japanese children being abused by teachers, leading to children refusing to attending school:

'Teachers' cited as top reason for truancy in survey by west Japan group - The Mainichi

"The most common factor given as the reason for not attending school, with multiple responses permitted, was "teachers," cited by 23 respondents. Specific reasons included not getting along with them, being afraid of them, corporal punishment and distrust. This was followed by "friends," "physical problems" and "incompatibility with the curriculum," each cited by 20 respondents. Another 18 respondents answered, "It's tough to see the teacher get mad at someone," while 16 said,…

bottom of page