eced 1From left: Anita Rios, Lt. Gov. Howie Morales and Terry Anderson. (Courtesy Photo)Creation of  New State 'Early Education & Childcare Department,' to Concentrate Improvements in Early Learning and Child Well-Being; Cites Long-Time Grant County Leadership to Create Historic Early Childhood Focus

(Santa Fe, NM) – Lieutenant Governor Howie Morales today praised Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham for signing into law Senate Bill 22 on Thursday, establishing a new Cabinet-level state department that will lead a unified expansion and transformation of early childhood education in New Mexico.  Morales also applauded the years of work particularly by Grant County advocates for and practitioners of early childhood education, who pushed the concept of a state agency solely focused on early education and childcare as encapsulated in the measure.  Morales, in response to the Grant County advocates mostly based at Western New Mexico University, sponsored the first bill ever in 2015 to create an early education department in New Mexico.

“I am thrilled today by the signing of SB 22, and Gov. Lujan Grisham has demonstrated great leadership in making this idea of concentrating our resources and efforts or the well-being of our youngest children.  She is an effective champion for working families,’ said Lt. Governor Howie Morales.  “This is the most important turnaround we must and will make as a state in the coming years. New Mexicans across the political spectrum agree on the importance of early childhood education. This department is an investment in our children, and thus in our shared future. It is an important step forward.”

“Years ago I learned from the committed professionals based at WNMU’s pioneering early childhood programs the pressing need to create such a state-wide agency.  They were my teachers and my mentors on this legislation.  We have made it a reality.  I credit them for getting us to this moment establishing the New Mexico Early Education & Childcare Department.  Families with young children today and in the future owe them an enormous debt,” added Morales.

Surrounded by dozens of legislative leaders, sponsors and child welfare advocates, Gov. Lujan Grisham and Lt. Gov. Morales celebrated the forthcoming launch of the Early Childhood Education and Care Department, which will, in expanding program eligibility and transferring program management currently scattered across other departments, provide New Mexico families and children from birth through age five with consistent access to high-quality care and education services, to include early intervention, family support, early childhood special education and home visitation as well as early pre-kindergarten and pre-kindergarten.

Both chambers, with bipartisan support, overwhelmingly approved the legislation, sponsored in 2019 by Sen. Michael Padilla and Rep. Linda Trujillo. 

“The Early Childhood Education and Care Department will provide the field of Early Childhood a shared vision, goals, and alignment of ALL early learning programs for children birth to five.  Under this governance and management, Early Childhood will be supported with a foundational understanding of how to best support the learning, growth, and development children need in order to be ready for academic learning,” Shannon Rivera, Executive Director/Assistant Professor, Early Childhood Programs, Western New Mexico University.

“Governor Lujan Grisham’s action will be a big help to improve the education of young children, and a big help for working families with young children in our communities.  Creating a state department solely committed to making early education and childcare a priority will offer parents more options for affordable, high-quality childcare and Pre-K.  This is essential for the future of New Mexico’ children.  I am proud of Howie Morales’ years of work to arrive at this accomplishment today, and we are grateful to Gov. Lujan Grisham’s bold leadership to make this a reality,” said Anita Rios, a Silver City resident and a Past President of the New Mexico Association for the Education of Young Children.

“Today’s creation of a state department to focus on early education and care has been many years in the making, and the work of many people.  This is exactly what we should be doing for the future of New Mexico’s children.  We will not accept being 50th in the nation in child well-being any longer.  Putting all early child programs under on roof will be a huge, positive turn around for children.” Terry Anderson, Executive Director of Community Partnership for Children, and a Past President of the New Mexico Association for the Education of Young Children.  Terry resides in Silver City.

Join GCB Three Times Weekly Updates

Welcome to Three Times Weekly Updates! You will be subscribed to email notifications with links to recently posted articles.
You can unsubscribe anytime. We never share or rent your email to anyone.

Fire Alerts

Editor's Note

Mary Alice is back, but on slow-mo, trying to catch up with all that didn't get done before she had to leave.

Those new to providing news releases to the Beat are asked to please check out submission guidelines at http://www.grantcountybeat.com/about/submissions. They are for your information to make life easier on the readers, as well as the editor.

Classifieds: Check periodically to see if any news ones have popped up. Welcome to our new version of classified ads.  We invite you our readers to post your own classifieds, which are available for viewing 24/7 and are very reasonable in price, because you do all the work yourselves. A recent classified for a van brought a sale within two days. It's really easy to check to see if there's a classified ad. Just click on Classifieds in the blue menu and the page will open letting you know if there is a classified ad. Remember that your buying classified ads gives you a wide readership, as well as supporting the Beat. Post YOURS for quick results!

Images: We have received complaints about large images blocking parts of other articles. If you encounter this problem, click on the title of the article you want to read and it will take you to that article's page, which shows only that article without any intruders. It's a software problem, not easily fixable, other than showing fewer articles per summary page. If you are a frequent visitor, you might not mind fewer articles per page, but if you only come once in a while, you likely want to see more articles to browse. Write me at editor@grantcountybeat.com to let me know your feelings on this issue. 

Compliance: Because you are an esteemed member of The Grant County Beat readership, be assured that we at the Beat continue to do everything we can to be in full compliance with GDPR and pertinent US law, so that the information you have chosen to give to us cannot be compromised. 

New Columnists: The Beat continues to bring you new columnists.Recent additions  include one about end of life options, Compassionate Care.

The Beat has a column for you gardeners out there. The Grant County Extension Service will bring you monthly columns on gardening issues. The first one posted is on Winterizing your houseplants and patio plants.

The Beat totally appreciates its readers and subscribers!  


All articles and photos indicated by a byline are copyrighted to the author or photographer. You may not use any information found within the articles without asking permission AND giving attribution to the source. Photos can be requested and may incur a nominal fee for use personally or commercially.

NOTE: If an article does not have a byline, it was sent to the Beat and written by someone not affiliated with the Beat

Don't forget to tell advertisers that you saw their ad on the Beat.

Newsletter: If you subscribe to the Join GCB Three Times Weekly Updates option on the left side of this page, you will be subscribed to email notifications with links to recently posted articles.

Here for YOU: Consider the Beat your DAILY newspaper for up-to-date information about Grant County. It's at your fingertips! One Click to Local News.

Feel free to notify editor@grantcountybeat.com, if you notice any problems on the site. Your convenience is my desire for the Beat.

Thanks for your support for and your readership of Grant County's online news source—www.grantcountybeat.com