By Thomas Garcia
In New Mexico, funding for vital programs always seems to be decreasing while the need for services associated with the programs affected by those cuts is on the rise.
In New Mexico and across the nation, there is always a need for increased funding in education.
Public schools, community college and university officials do their best to complete improvements to their facilities and equipment in phases with money that is allocated each year through capital outlay — all while standards and goals set for students to meet and exceed proficiency rise each year.
There is much emphasis on helping a student’s success after high school graduation through college readiness or trade-skill training.
New Mexico schools have been graded on college readiness preparation through the state’s school accountability system for the past three years. Each year, state school grading results are released by the New Mexico Public Education Department.
In 2014, all four school districts in Quay County — Logan, Tucumcari, House and San Jon — saw improvements in the grades issued to them the prior year.
While so much focus is put on preparing our students for a successful future after graduation, there is one area of education that suffers because of lack of funding.
Underage drinking prevention and education programs across the state have become much like communities in the way that they must compete against one another for the grant funding that is available each year.
The purpose of underage drinking prevention and education programs is to attend the schools and reach out to the children while they are young to teach them the dangers of underage drinking.
This includes information on various health risks involved with alcohol consumption, including cancer, obesity, alcohol dependency, depression and suicide.
Many studies have shown underage drinking affects the brain and could lead to many other dangerous, impulsive behaviors and consequences.
According to the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions survey conducted in 2003, 32 percent of drivers ages 16–20 who died in traffic crashes had measurable alcohol in their blood.
Each year an alarming number of statistics shows the continued escalation of the dangers and effects underage drinking has on today’s youth.
A study released on June 26 by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows New Mexico ranked the highest in deaths attributed to alcohol (per 100,000 population) from 2006-2010.
Education as a whole should not have to struggle for funding. Prevention and education programs be it for underage drinking, prescription drug abuse or illicit drug use should never have to combat one another for grant funding.
What is the point of improving the standards of education to better prepare the children for a successful future, if they are not alive to enjoy that future?
Thomas Garcia is a senior writer at the Quay County Sun. He can be reached at email@example.com