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Breaking the Cycle: Early childhood education series

Educational assistant Renea Gicante, right, plays with four-year-old Lauren Lozoya, at Shining Stars Preschool in Rio Rancho in August. State funding for preschools jumped more than 100 percent over the past two years after budgets cuts during the recession. (Roberto E. Rosales/Albuquerque Journal)
Educational assistant Renea Gicante, right, plays with four-year-old Lauren Lozoya, at Shining Stars Preschool in Rio Rancho in August. State funding for preschools jumped more than 100 percent over the past two years after budgets cuts during the recession. (Roberto E. Rosales/Albuquerque Journal)
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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Over the past 15 years, the state has pumped hundreds of millions of dollars into full-day kindergarten, prekindergarten, family nutrition initiatives, reading readiness programs, remedial classes for college, and increased salaries and training for teachers.

Yet, New Mexico remains plagued by poor fourth grade reading scores, high teen dropout rates, and disappointing numbers of college graduates each year.

Now, there’s a growing recognition here and nationally, buoyed by research on how fast kids’ brains develop, that the key to better student achievement is preventing problems before children ever get to school.

The following is a 3-part series by Journal Investigative Reporter Colleen Heild on New Mexico’s efforts to improve early childhood education.

Breaking the Cycle

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