New Mexico has the second-worst school system in America, according to a recent WalletHub study.

The research for the study was developed by a specific methodology created by WalletHub’s research team in conjunction with academic experts in the field, Jill Gonzalez, a WalletHub analyst, said.

The data used to create the rankings is aggregated from reputable, mostly government, sources including the U.S. Census Bureau and National Center for Educational Statistics, Gonzalez said.



The report focuses on K-12 public education, and rankings are based on a comparison of school quality and safety across the 50 states and the District of Columbia, Gonzalez said. These were evaluated using 21 relevant key metrics that best define education within the states.

Standardized tests were taken into account in this ranking, with WalletHub analysts looking at reading and math scores for grades four and eight, and analyzing SAT and ACT scores, Gonzalez said.

“Just 12 percent of New Mexico students scored three or higher in 2016’s Advanced Placement Exams,” leaving the state ranking 40th in the nation’s AP scores, she said. “Similarly, just 79 percent of high school graduates completed the ACT and/or SAT, ranking (New Mexico) 47th.”

The state also performed poorly in other areas.

New Mexico ranks 49th for reading and math scores and 50th for high school graduation rate, Gonzalez said. The state has a high school graduation rate of 63.5 percent.

Although states were not compared on population size, the number of teachers per student was a factor in the ranking, with New Mexico ranking 25th with an average of 15 students to one teacher in pupil-teacher ratio, she said.

Despite New Mexico faltering in many categories for the study, there were certain categories where New Mexico excelled.

“New Mexico did better when it comes to its share of licensed or certified public K–12 teachers — eighth best with 99.65 percent of K-12 teachers being licensed or certified,” Gonzalez said. “New Mexico also has the 9th lowest bullying rate, (as) just 18 percent of students reported being bullied on school property and 14 percent reported cyberbullying.”

Nichole Harwood is a reporter at the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at news@dailylobo.com or on Twitter @Nolidoli1.