By Robert Arrowsmith
We know the statistics. According to Kids Count Data Center, New Mexico’s overall rank: 49th.
Economic well being: 49th.
Education rank: 49th.
Health rank: 49th.
Family and community rank: 49th
According to teacherportal.com, teacher salary comfort score: 37th.
Average teacher salary rank: 39th.
Starting teacher salary rank: 38th.
While the average starting teacher salary in the United States is $36,141, the average New Mexico starting salary is $31,960, or 88 percent of the national average.
According to Top50states.com, the cost of living index: New Mexico 92.5.
The national percentage of poverty: 13 percent; while the New Mexico percentage of poverty: 20 percent.
Average IQ: 96 (48th, based on math, reading, writing and science for fourth and eighth graders).
By the way, New Mexico ranks 10th in bullying.
According to researchers at the US Centers for Disease Control and prevention, three-fourths of children 12 to 15 spend at least two hours per day watching TV and using a computer. What was not tracked was smartphone usage.
According to internetworldstats.com, the national average of Internet penetration is 77 percent as of June 2010. New Mexico’s is 68 percent.
Where am I going with all this?
We know New Mexico does not match up with the national averages. Quit worrying about comparative statistics. Some statistics are good to know, such as the grades our schools received that we reported recently. But from a comparative standpoint, let’s not spend so much time concentrating on them.
Wifi the schools. Make access available to all students. Look at the number of online college degrees there are. Maybe it is now time to set up online curriculum for lower levels. A number of schools around the country that are over capacity already have their kids do some of their work online. There are programs already online such as k12.com.
We all feel kids spend an extensive amount of time on phones, tablets, computers, etc. Put that to use.
Come up with an education program that teaches kids to search, investigate, research, and study.
Put what they have in their hands to use.
Put things like Facebook to use to help learn and develop better social skills. Put Instagram to use to help bring out the artistic creative ability of individuals.
Teach kids the ramifications and impact of what they say on Twitter, or other social platforms.
Base studies off of Internet research, and teach kids effective research skills, reputable sites, and how to compile informative data for reports, and studies.
Come up with challenges for kids that require extensive searches using the Internet.
While I have all kinds of supportive stats, I have not been able to find a statistic that shows how much time kids search other websites, how much time they actually spend reading etc., but I am willing to speculate that kids are reading online more than ever.
In simple terms, come up with a curriculum that fits where kids spend their time today. Put what they are spending their time on to use educationally.
Robert Arrowsmith is publisher of Clovis Media Inc. Contact him at: