Many, many kudos to Senate Minority Floor Leader Stuart Ingle, who co-sponsored Senate Bill 364, the lottery-reform bill that was recently signed into law.
SB 364 requires the New Mexico Lottery Authority to cut its relatively high administrative and operating costs and reallocate those savings to more full-tuition college scholarships for deserving high school students.
When it is completely phased in in 2009, this new statute will generate an additional $9 million per year or enough to pay for about 2,500 scholarships to public universities in New Mexico.
That’s a big victory for high school students across New Mexico, who are working hard, staying in school and earning good grades, and who can now count on a full tuition college scholarship being there when they graduate from high school.
Because of his modesty, a lot of New Mexicans are not aware that Ingle, then a relatively junior legislator, was one of the major forces behind the lottery scholarship program in the late 1990s. It is a true landmark law that has now helped more than 43,000 New Mexicans to attend college, including many who are the first in their family to earn a college degree.
Eastern New Mexico residents are fortunate to have Ingle representing them in Santa Fe. Those of us in the rest of the state are also fortunate to have him serving in the New Mexico Senate.
Think New Mexico
Education needs rescue operation
It seems we hear so much about our education system and much is not good. I am not a teacher, but I am a daughter and stepdaughter of teachers. I have two generations of several teachers in my family.
Although I have not professionally taught, I am a teacher. My family members teach because they like teaching and love children but get sidetracked with so much paperwork and meetings that distract from actual teaching.
I have observed children need to be taught to read, then writing will follow and math will become a game.
First, children need to know and love books, and when they can read and understand why they are reading they can become their own teachers and help others.
Nothing builds self-esteem like being able to read and comprehend. Our lives depend on this. Books are friends to be enjoyed. We gain information from them. They entertain us. They offer wisdom.
Another thing I have observed is the low salaries paid to our children’s teachers.
There is a need for young men in the field of education. Pay young gentlemen a winning wage and place them in elementary classes, and our discipline problems will vanish.
Federal and state governments can help but this is our community and our children. We need to do all we can for our children’s education.
Our community can rise to the occasion to save Cannon Air Force Base. We can do something for education and get our children ready for their futures. Start teaching salaries in the bracket they deserve to be. What job is more important than teaching?
My thanks and appreciation to all teachers who serve us.