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May 14, 2002

Education Week Heralds New Mexico's Technology Leadership

(Santa Fe, NM)- New Mexico spends more per student on computer technology, given the factor of discounts through E-rate funding, than any other state, according to the May 9, 2002 issue of Education Week, "Technology Counts." Washington D.C. alone spends more per child. New Mexico leads in other ways, being one of only six states that has both virtual high school and cyber charter schools, and making computers available to students at a rate above national averages.

"I was very excited to read this issue, and I got it to my key personnel as soon as I'd reviewed it. This is a national publication, which is held in high regard by educators across the United States. It shows how much New Mexico has achieved in giving all our students the advantage of the latest technology and the best learning environment," said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Michael J. Davis.

One central concern of educators, the Digital Divide, is that affluent children often have greater access to computers than poor children. The difference is negligible in New Mexico, where the ratio of students to computers is almost identical across economic lines. 3.6 students work at every instructional computer in New Mexico (compared to a national mean of 4.2). In "high poverty" schools, specifically, 3.5 students work at each computer (the national average is 4.5), and in "minority schools," the ratio is 3.7 (nationally, the mean is 4.7). "Every child has equal access," said Superintendent Davis.

The ratio of New Mexican students to Internet-connected computers, which offer a richer array of learning resources, is still farther ahead of national means. In "high poverty" areas in New Mexico, the number of students working in school on the Internet is 6.0, compared to 8.1 nationally. Among minorities, the ratio in New Mexico is 6.3, whereas the national mean is 8.5.

A corollary preoccupation of educators is the absence of computers in homes. In New Mexico, where some people struggle to procure necessities, many suffer the lack of computers. "We succeed in educating our students on computers, but many families in New Mexico simply can't afford computers at home. Part of the mission of education throughout our state is to rectify the deficit in school," said Superintendent Davis.

But New Mexico does more than that, too. Steven Sanchez, Director of Curriculum, Instruction ad Learning Technologies said, "New Mexico has made a number of programs available to communities in need. Schools open their doors to students and their parents after hours. Technology is making a big difference in the educational opportunities not only of students but of their parents, as well."

For more information, contact Steven Sanchez at (505) 827 3644 or ssanchez@sde.state,