- Associated Press - Saturday, December 19, 2015

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - A New Mexico summer education program that is requesting $29 million in funding appears to have little long-term effects for students, a new study said.

A Utah State University political science professor presented the findings of a five-year study of the K-3 Plus Program to lawmakers earlier this week.

Professor Damon Cann told members of the Legislative Education Study Committee on Thursday that the gains children make in math, writing and reading appear to flatten out over time.

“There is some evidence of promise for some students in some areas. . I realize that’s not the most helpful piece of advice I can give,” Cann said.

According to the study, participating students made average gains of 8 percentage points in math and more than 11 points in reading by the end of their kindergarten year compared to those who did not take part the prior summer. But students who had the same teacher after the program made 25 percentage point gains in math and 20 points in writing after second grade.

He and Democratic state Sen. Mimi Stewart, of Albuquerque, both believe a struggle to find teachers to volunteer and to get students and parents to attend are factors. Cann estimated that 65 percent of the K-3 Plus students stick with the program by the time they reach third grade, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported (http://bit.ly/1T90k9N).

“They have to go to school to get these gains,” Cann said.

Stewart, who has made early childhood programs a focus, said she was disappointed by some of the report’s data.

“I am very frustrated that we have districts and schools all over the state that can’t quite get their act together with it,” she said.

The program adds 25 days of summer instruction for kindergarteners through third graders attending schools with high rates of children living in poverty.

The New Mexico Public Education Department has invested $24 million in the program and plans to ask for more during the next legislative session.

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Information from: The Santa Fe New Mexican, http://www.sfnewmexican.com

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