Perceptions of education swing wildly in New Mexico. Media coverage and controversy tend to be the biggest sway of favorability and trust. Another motivator of “perception” is political ideology.
For example, favorability of universities tends to dip whenever there is controversy or transition in leadership. Favorability of Universities in Southern New Mexico dipped when New Mexico State University was in the midst of a very hostile leadership transition. The same dip was seen in the Albuquerque area when the University of New Mexico’s sports programs grabbed the headlines.
The scenario for K-12 education is not much different. While people connect with people and not so much institutions, it should not be surprising about the general differences between the lower favorability of public schools and higher trust of teachers. However, there are some things to notice in the seven years of perception surveys.
In 2011, Public Schools enjoyed a 47 percent favorability. The next year, it slipped to 38 percent. The ebb and flow of favorability continued. Favorability increased for three years to 46 percent in 2015 only to drop again to 39 percent in 2017.
Trust of Teachers is not as volatile, increasing three percent over the past seven years. Teachers saw the lowest level of trust in 2013 (63 percent) and the highest level of trust in 2015 (74 percent).
The age groups most vested in K-12 education are the 18-34 and 35-49 year old age group. New Mexico residents in these age groups are the most likely to have children in the public schools. Both of these age demographics place a high level of trust in teachers, both seeing peaks in 2015. The age groups tend to split a little more dramatically when it comes to favorability of public schools. The 18-34 age group, despite an 18 point shift from 2012 to 2015, tends to be more favorable of public schools than the 35-49 age group.
Statewide, residents in Eastern New Mexico are the most favorable of public schools (51 percent average) while residents in Albuquerque have the lowest level of favorability (38 percent average). Trust of teachers is highest in North Central New Mexico (an average of 70 percent).
More information and analysis of this information is available online at www.garrityperceptionsurvey.com.