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Over the past eight years, CHI St. Joseph’s Children has spearheaded the creation of a collection of research and reports that paints a portrait of the development of thought and argument for the cause of funding early childhood programs. As the proponents addressed questions and concerns, a thorough investigation and understanding of early childhood and the Land Grant Permanent Fund, as a source of funding, has been accumulated. This research is available to not just legislators, but the public and media upon request. 

Since the idea of funding early childhood programs was first conceived, CHI St. Joseph’s Children has been committed to researching and developing a clear understanding of the needs of our children in New Mexico and the feasibility of the Land Grant Permanent Fund serving that need. In the years of this advocacy effort important questions have surfaced and through research, CHI St. Joseph’s Children has brought forward not just answers but sound researched arguments for the public and legislators to discern. In this progression of thought two constants have driven the argument: one, that our statistical evidence on the well-being of our children has been stagnant or worsening; and two, after deliberate investigation of funding sources, the Land Grant Permanent Fund continues to be the only sustainable option. The performance of the Land Grant Permanent Fund has proven our economic analysis to be correct, with an approximately one billion dollar growth per year. These two factors then drive the effort to bring our constitution and the archaic distribution formula up to speed with the current science on brain development.

The proposal of dedicating one percent of the “Common Schools” portion of the Land Grant Permanent Fund to early childhood programs has garnished public support, expert research, and financial feasibility, giving policy makers the confidence that this Constitutional Amendment is worthy of a public debate by being placed on the ballot. This is further validated with the recent ruling by Judge Singleton in the Yazzie/Martinez lawsuit. In this order it is clearly articulated that programs for children who are English-language learners, Native Americans and students with disabilities, including pre-kinder aged children, are not adequately funded.  

Decision making in the public sphere by legislators must always take time, deliberate discernment of data, facts, research, and constituents’ will. The progression of the debate has reached an elevated and credible point that should give confidence in making the investment in our children today and tomorrow.

Time seasons wisdom. Over the last eight years as this debate raged, time has only proven that without meaningful and significant investment, the conditions of our children will not improve. These years have also tested and proven the people’s wealth, the Land Grant Permanent Fund, to be a secure and sustainable source of not just funding but possibly making a fundamental systemic change to place the children of New Mexico on a positive trajectory. 

Disclaimer: CHI St. Joseph’s Children does not accept government funding.

For copies of the research please contact Jessa Cowdrey at jesssacowdrey@catholichhealth.net.

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