January 4, 2017

New Mexico still ranks near bottom for education quality -- Santa Fe New Mexican

Public school students in New Mexico have the poorest chance for success among students nationwide because of factors such as the state’s high poverty rate, its low graduation rate and its students failing to meet goals in reading and math, according to a new report.

A bright spot is that New Mexico does better than most states when it comes to equitably funding public schools across all districts, says the annual Quality Counts report by the national Education Week magazine.

Overall, New Mexico received a grade of D and ranked 49th in the report released Wednesday. Quality Counts grades states and the District of Columbia on how well they prepare students for college and careers, how states fare in terms of supporting student achievement and how they manage their education dollars. -- 1/4/2017


Investment returns to boost money for schools -- Albuquerque Journal

New Mexico’s bleak financial situation could see a ray of light in the coming budget year, as positive investment returns are expected to lead to roughly $60 million in additional funds for public schools, hospitals and other programs from the state’s two large permanent funds.

The two funds – the Land Grant Permanent Fund and the Severance Tax Permanent Fund – make annual distributions to the state to help offset spending on education, health care and other programs. The funds are managed by the New Mexico State Investment Council. -- 1/4/2017


How to Become a ‘Superager’ -- New York Times SundayReview

Why do some older people remain mentally nimble while others decline? “Superagers” (a term coined by the neurologist Marsel Mesulam) are those whose memory and attention isn’t merely above average for their age, but is actually on par with healthy, active 25-year-olds. Massachusetts General Hospital recently studied superagers to understand what made them tick.

How do you become a superager? Which activities, if any, will increase your chances of remaining mentally sharp into old age? We’re still studying this question, but our best answer at the moment is: work hard at something. Many labs have observed that these critical brain regions increase in activity when people perform difficult tasks, whether the effort is physical or mental. You can therefore help keep these regions thick and healthy through vigorous exercise and bouts of strenuous mental effort. -- 12/31/2016