ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - The latest Kids Count Data Book study was released Monday and ranked New Mexico in last place in the country for kids' well-being. The study, conducted by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, shows New Mexico is the worst state in the country for kids to live when it comes to a range of issues including health and education.
"You have to confront the brutal facts of life that we are 50th, and now the question is, what do we do about it?" said "Rules of Thumb" author, Alan Webber. "It's undeniably the case that we're dealing with some very difficult problems."
At today's inaugural New Mexico Kids Count Conference, held at the Marriott Pyramid North In Albuquerque, school officials, legislators and concerned citizens called for action.
Albuquerque Public Schools Superintendent Winston Brooks said big problems lead to New Mexico getting the lowest ranking in the country.
"I think the whole unemployment issue, the whole issue with poverty and ultimately the issue with the lack of good early childhood programs causes a big mountain that we have to cross," he said.
Webber said education needs a lot more funding.
"The investment strategy is very simple. If you invest in education, kids' futures, you're going to build the economy."
Education is just one of four factors that went into the report including health, family life and economic well-being. Some say education is the most important aspect, though.
"Unless we get sufficient funding, then I think we just continue to stay at 50 for a long time and that's terrible for our future," said Bernice Garcia Baca, a school counselor at Aspen Community Magnet School in Santa Fe.
Last year, New Mexico was ranked 49th for kids' well-being in the country, just ahead of Mississippi.
Calls to the Gov. Susana Martinez's office about the report were not returned.
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