On the Bookshelf
Public Education in New Mexico
UNM Press, 2005
By John B. Mondragon and Ernest B. Stapleton
Educators offer insights into New Mexico history
By Greg Johnston
The historical roots of New Mexico’s educational system began 400 years ago in the days of Spanish colonization. According to John B. Mondragón, the main objective at the time was converting the Native population to Catholicism.
“In the process they did teach some reading and writing. It was during the later half of the Spanish period, that lasted 260 years, that the King of Spain mandated that there would be a public education system,” Mondragón said. “But there were no resources to do it. Each community was on its own. So it continued that the Catholic Church was responsible for education.”
“Public Education in New Mexico,” by Mondragón and Ernest B. Stapleton examines key issues and trends that have shaped the educational system in New Mexico.
The authors draw from their collective 100 years as veteran and distinguished public school administrators. Both authors are faculty members in the Educational Leadership and Organizational Learning department at the UNM College of Education.
Mondragón says the last book written comprehensively about education in New Mexico was in 1965. It dealt primarily with the financing of education. He and Stapleton examine in significant detail trends that shaped education in the state. The book includes descriptive tables, charts, lists and chapter-end discussion questions. Key proponents of public education are portrayed alongside the governance of policies, right up to the current standards required by No Child Left Behind.
The book serves as a valuable reference for administrators, practicing educators and students preparing for a career in teaching. But the book could also appeal to parents and policy-makers, or those interested in shaping the future education of our children.