New report explores New Mexico education system’s downward trend under Martinez administration

By Sylvia Ulloa, New Mexico In Depth, New Mexico In Depth
The easiest number to understand in the just-released 2019 Annie E. Casey Kid’s Count report is that New Mexico ranks 50th overall in child well-being. That’s a stark ranking, the second year in a row New Mexico earned that distinction. For detractors and supporters of former governor Susana Martinez, there’s a lot to digest in the numbers released Monday because they track with nearly her entire tenure. The chart below shows the Kids Count rankings in several categories for 2012-2019, but most of the data comes from 2010-17 (Rankings go back to 1990, but a different methodology was used in those years, making direct comparison difficult). “It very much is a reflection of what happened, and more specifically, what didn’t happen during the Martinez years,” said James Jimenez, executive director of New Mexico Voices for Children, which monitors the indicators for New Mexico.

EPCC, UTEP fight student hunger with food pantries

EL PASO — One in four college students does not have enough to eat according to the National Student Campaign Against Hunger and Homelessness. College food pantries help students cope with food insecurity. “A lot of students are going hungry, a lot of them live paycheck to paycheck and we wanted to address this issue by opening a food pantry.” said Bryan Mena, president of the El Paso Community College student government association. “We want to make sure every student knows that it’s an option for them.”

In the past five years, student government at both EPCC and the University of Texas at El Paso’s created their own on campus food pantries to offer free food to students and staff in need. The EPCC and UTEP pantries offer a variety of nonperishable food items for their students and staff ranging from canned meats, beans, soup, cereal, to a variety of canned vegetables.

Access, talent, research and external funding 4 keys to UT El Paso’s continued success, retiring president Natalicio says

EL PASO, Texas — After spending three decades reshaping the University of Texas at El Paso, Diana Natalicio isn’t sure she’s ready for the next stage of her life. “Well, I mean, in some ways I am and in some ways I’m not, having done the same thing for 30 years,” said Natalicio, who announced her retirement in May as UTEP’s president. “I don’t have much practice on the retirement side of this. So I think it’s a good time for me to do this. But I’ll have to see how successful I am at being a retiree.”

Natalicio, a 79-year-old native of St.

Mom couldn’t find inclusive preschool for her child with special needs, so she opened one in El Paso

EL PASO – After her daughter was born five years ago with Down syndrome, local educator Kerry McKee began an extensive search for special education opportunities for children with the genetic condition. She searched with no luck for schools in the El Paso area that catered to children like her daughter and discovered that Down syndrome children often were placed in separate classrooms.

She even considered moving to another city in Texas with special facilities and learning opportunities for children with special needs. “I said, that’s not the education my child is going to have,” said Mckee, who has worked for 20 years in the field of education. According to the National Down Syndrome Society, approximately one in every 700 babies in the U.S. is born with Down syndrome – or about 6,000 each year. Finally, after visiting the KinderFrogs School in Fort Worth, an inclusive program designed for children with disabilities, she decided El Paso needed a program like it.

Internships critical for college students to gain edge in job market

The U.S. unemployment rate at 4.4 percent is at its lowest level in 10 years. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates there are more than 6.2 million job openings. But just because there are jobs doesn’t mean that graduating college students are guaranteed work. One thing that can hurt graduating students’ chances of getting a job is the lack of an internship on their resume. Internships can demonstrate that students gained on-site and hands-on experience in their field of study.

UTEP strives to give students an ‘Edge’ before and after graduation

The University of Texas at El Paso offers a vast array of services to students that will not only help them while in school but to prepare them for lifelong success as well. Besides course work, UTEP further prepares students by providing research experiences, creative activities, study abroad, student employment, and student internships, among others. This fall semester, UTEP gathered all of these activities under a new initiative called UTEP Edge, which helps students get involved in school and in their career planning by focusing on research projects and extracurricular activities while they are enrolled. “The Edge is really centered around three core statements which are talented students, enriching experiences, and lifelong success,” Marc Cox, director of the Center for Faculty Leadership and Development, said. According to Cox, the fact that the majority of UTEP students are bilingual is an asset.

School children find peace, balance in Kundalini Yoga practice

A yoga practice referred to as “the yoga of awareness” is helping students be more present, confident and peaceful, said the director of an El Paso Montessori school. “Kundalini Yoga for us has been a tremendous opportunity for students to connect even deeper within, to really understand that they are inside and really make a connection with their body and mind,” said Natalia Bennett, director of Mountain West Montessori School. She said some of the benefits students have experienced from Kundalini Yoga practice at Mountain West Montessori include thinking more clearly, being more aware of their surroundings and being at peace within themselves and the people around them. Kundalini Yoga is one of the older yogas and is very comprehensive including meditation, breath work, and mudras with hand positions, mantras, chanting, and singing. “Yoga means to unite, to merge body, mind and spirit, and Kundalini Yoga does that, it connects us to our inner wisdom, our consciousness our inner strength,” said Paramdayal Kaur, a certified Kundalini Yoga and Meditation teacher in El Paso.

How the popularity of UTEP’s majors have shifted for women

Think you can guess what UTEP’s most popular undergraduate majors were last in 2015? If you guessed nursing for women and engineering for men, you’d be right. But if you had to guess what the most popular undergraduate majors were 10 years ago, would your answers still be the same? According to UTEP’s Center for Institutional Evaluation, Research and Planning, Business was the most popular major for male students in 2005, but among women, education was the most popular major, comprising 10 percent of female undergrads. Business was the most popular major overall at the university.