NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – Lawmakers are pushing for a way to improve pre-k and college education in New Mexico by studying those systems from top to bottom. They’re calling it ‘cradle to career.’

Early childhood education and post-secondary education combined take up about 16% of the state’s budget. However, right now, they don’t get the oversight K-12 gets.

“The higher education funding formula is different than the K-12 system, so we could be able to do a deep dive in that and continue that substantive work that we’ve seen through the interim between the LFC [Legislative Finance Committee] and the LESC [Legislative Education Study Committee] in our K-12 system and apply that to education writ large,” said Representative G. Andres Romero (D-Albuquerque), the lead sponsor on this bill.

Romero claims House Bill 216 is just another version of a bill that has made it to the governor’s desk in the past. At the moment, state law only allows the influential LESC to put together reports and budget and policy recommendations for K-12.

However, with New Mexico routinely ranked near the bottom in education, lawmakers are hopeful this bill will get signed this year: “I see it very much not that those areas need regulating by the LESC, but they need advocating by the LESC and making sure that we’ve got a continuity and seamlessness across the education curriculums.”

This bill passed the Senate Education Committee unanimously. It heads to the Senate Floor from there.

The LESC reported they have enough staff to handle this extra task. However, a legislative analysis said expanding their duties could distract from solving K-12 problems.