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State of the State Analysis -Part One

Governor Bill Richardson launched his State of the State address talking about New Mexico’s future. Not surprising, it is a common focus with the members of this administration. They like to talk about “moving forward” and setting the foundation for a better future. Why? Well, because the present isn’t so impressive. In the Governor’s own words:

We have not reached our destination yet.

When exactly is this train supposed to pull into the station? In the final year of an administration, shouldn’t we have reached at least one “destination.”

The results speak for themselves. Better schools, better jobs, more money in people’s pockets, and a healthier, safer New Mexico.

Amen Governor, I couldn’t agree with you more. The results DO speak for themselves:

  • More of our schools are failing this year than last.
  • According to the FDIC, the overwhelming majority of job growth in NM has been low wage, and since 2001 we have suffered a net loss of high wage jobs.
  • Shell games with taxes have resulted in overflowing government coffers and less money in our pockets.
  • There has been absolutely no change in our health ranking over the last two years.
  • As to safety, our state’s largest metro is still ranked as one of the 25 most dangerous in the nation.

Ok, so it is clear we have been unable to make any progress to date despite ever-increasing budgets. So, how does the Governor propose to address these embarrassing failures?

He doesn’t.

Nope. Instead Governor Richardson is going to introduce a whole new slew of programs. Take this gem:

One glaring weakness in our schools is parental involvement. We need to break down the barriers between parents and schools, to reach out, to engage moms, dads and in many cases, grandparents who are called into action to raise their grandchildren.

Just what kind of motivation is the government going to provide parents to get them to care about their children? Are we going to hand out parental involvement rebate checks? What kind of barriers are we talking about? My kids go to public school, and I have never encountered any barriers to my involvement. This is not a government problem with a government solution. This is a personal responsibility problem with a personal responsibility solution.

And what is the strategy for solving school performance problems?

To make sure New Mexico students are fully prepared, I call for a new commitment to match high school curricula with college entrance exams. The tests to get out of high school should match the tests to get into college.

Gee, that sounds wonderful. Of course, it has nothing to do with the performance problems. Last I checked, our students aren’t passing the current tests. This proposal would be the equivalent of Louisiana’s Governor proposing to build better boats to solve hurricane flooding issues in New Orleans.

Let’s see what else is in store for the Year of the Child.

Additional before- and after- school programs will also help decrease child obesity, expand physical activity, and increase parent and community involvement in schools.

First, the Governor says he needs to create programs to get parents involved in schools. Then he says he needs to create more school programs, and that will lead to parental involvement.
Who writes this stuff?

Stay tuned for Part Two…