The Governor’s First Grade Reading Initiative

An obsession leads to discovery of a flawed reading program. Wasteful spending of public tax dollars in an "illegal" bid system. Wow!

Yes, I am obsessed with the Governor’s First Grade Reading Initiative. New Mexico has done it for six years and the person who thought of it should get a medal. Seriously! It is a wonderful thing to give a free book to every first grader in New Mexico public and some charter schools. Actually, every first grader, no matter what kind of school they go to should receive a book to take home. For some kids, this is their one and only book. If I had it my way, all kids, K-12 would get an appropriate age book.

My company, LPDPress/Rio Grande Books has gotten a piece of the Initiative for three years. Not the majority of the Initiative – just a piece. The total allocation each year has been about $200,000 of TAX money allotted by the New Mexico Legislature. So about a total so far of $1,200,000 of New Mexico TAX money. The only other NM publisher who has gotten a piece of the Initiative has been UNM Press for about $10,000 the first year. So quick math – UNM Press got it one year and we got it for 3 years – each for just a piece, for four years. So that leaves two years that NO NEW MEXICO PUBLISHERS GOT EVEN A PIECE OF THE INITIATIVE.

This would be bad enough that no New Mexico publishers got any of the Initiative funded with New Mexico tax money. But it gets worse. The Initiative has been administered with cluelessness for six years. Now you might say of course you want NMPED to buy books that are $20 -$25 @ - good money. No, to bid you have to reduce them to about $6@. So $6 to pay for printing, pay for shipping to every school system in NM, pay royalty to the author, and make a little money – not a lot. Remember that $200,000 is for 30,000 books.

Why I know so much about it is I have filled suit against the New Mexico Public Education Department for Beach of Contract and just being deceptive about the Initiative. You can’t file suit for not spending NM tax money in NM but NMPED did enough screwy things that will do. What has NMPED done that is so wrong? Let me list them:

    Think this is enough for a lawsuit? NM Procurement says books are excluded from the Code – who thought of that? But it also says if you mislead, discriminate, defraud, all bets are off. Every legal eagle who has looked it over said – did you make this up? Nope, you can’t make this up and that is why I am suing because your government should not be allowed to do this. The other thing I wonder, how many other programs have had this creative bidding? This might be the tip of the iceberg. Stupid does not function in a vacuum. I allege it is bad, illegal, and stupid. Your tax dollars at work. A sure way to kill a good program.

    Initiative History

    Tia’s Tamales - UNM Press*
    Little Cow In Valle Grande - UNM Press*
    Juan & The Jackalope - UNM Press*
    Grandpa’s Magic Tortilla - UNM Press*
    The Key To Grandpa’s House – UNM Press*
    Navajo Year, A Walk Through Many Seasons - Salina Bookshelf – AZ
    A Sweater For Duncan - Raven Tree Books – IL
    My Pal Victor – Raven Tree Books - IL
    Nathan Saves Summer & 14 other titles - Raven Tree Books - IL

    Beauty Besides Me - Salina Bookshelf – AZ
    E Is for Enchantment - Sleeping Bear Press – MI
    17 titles - Raven Tree Books - IL

    How Chile Came to New Mexico – LPD Press/Rio Grande Books*
    The Hogan That Great Grandfather Built - Salina Bookshelf – AZ
    E Is For Enchantment – Sleeping Bear Press - MI

    How Chile Came to New Mexico – LPD Press/Rio Grande Books*
    Animado o Inanimado? - Rourke Publishing – FL
    B is for Buckaroo – Sleeping Bear Press - MI
    Hot Air Balloon – Capstone - MN
    Beauty Beside Me – Salina Bookshelf - AZ

    Maya’s Blanket - Lee & Low - NY
    The Hogan Great Grandfather Built - Salina Bookshelf – AZ
    Ten for Me - Arbordale – SC
    Newton & Me – Arbordale - SC

    Don’t Touch This Book Navajo Bilingual – LPD Press/Rio Grande Books*
    Deep In The Desert -Arbordale – SC
    En Lo Profundo del Desierto/Deep In The Desert- Arbordale - SC

    *New Mexico publisher
    Salina Bookshelf got a bid for 5 years & displaced by LPD Press/Rio Grande Books year six
    LPD Press/Rio Grande Books got the bid in Bilingual Navajo & Spanish for 3 years
    UNM Press got a bid one year – New Mexico Books are the minority for the Initiative

    Barbe Awalt


    April is:
    National Poetry Month
    National Talk Like Shakespeare Day, April 23
    World Book and Copyright Day, April 23
    English Language Day, April 23

    Rio Grande Books
    April 20-22: Arizona-NM Historical Society Conference, Flagstaff, AZ
    June 16-18: Sacred Art Market, Gallup Cathedral
    July 15: Lavender in the Village, Los Ranchos Agri Center
    Nov 4, 2017: Tempe Book Festival, Tempe Public Library

    Henrietta Christmas & Paul Rhetts
    April 30: Santa Fe Public Library, 2pm "Basic Genealogy Checklist: 101 Tips & Tactics to Finding Your Family History"
    June 24: Treasure House Books, Albuquerque Old Town 1-3pm "Basic Genealogy Checklist: 101 Tips & Tactics to Finding Your Family History"

    Loretta Hall
    May 3: Bear Canyon Senior Center, 10:00-11:30, "Getting Men to the Moon: Behind-the-Scenes Stories"
    June 10: Bookworks, 11am. 4022 Rio Grande Blvd ABQ
    July 13: OASIS, 1:00-2:30, "What Sex Differences Mean for Space Travel"

    Pat Hodapp
    April 23: Collected Works, 2pm "Santa Fe Bucket List"

    Ross Van Dusen
    June 4: Treasure House Books, 1pm "Lyle Got Stuck in a Tree" and "What Makes Lightning?"