It’s Education, Stupid!!!

Should Georgia continue on the collision course of balancing the state budget with cuts to education? Yes, if we are satisfied that only 67% of Georgia students will earn a high school diploma. Yes, if we don’t care about investing in a workforce that will and can tackle the dynamic challenges of the 21st Century? Should we balance the budget on the backs of students? Yes, if we are prepared to relegate a high percentage of Georgia youth to low-paying jobs and sporadic employment. Yes, if we prefer the startling statistic that in Georgia 1 of every 4 children lives in poverty according to the 2010 census. Yes, if we are satisfied that the Georgia economic recovery will lag behind the national pace.

Research conducted by CEOs for Cities determined cities gain significant per capita income for every percent increase in the college attainment rate of its residents. There is a direct correlation between per capita income and a city’s college graduation rate. Education attainmnet also affects the unemployment rate. Their website, http://www.ceosforcities.org/, provides links to the research for dozens of cities including Atlanta.

Former Atlanta Development Authority President Peggy McCormick led the local discussion about this topic three years ago. Her editorial opinion, Education is Vital to the Region’s Economy, can be found on the AJC website. The facts haven’t changed except to be reinforced during the prolonged economic downturn in Georgia.

It is well known that the more education and the better educated the residents of the city and the state the more vibrant the economy. Yet Georgia leaders continue to ignore the relationship between the two and the state economy lags, the unemployment rate of Georgians remains higher than the national average month after month and the high school dropout rate remains consistently high.

Remember the famous political quote, “it’s the economy, stupid“? Well, “it’s education, stupid” works for me.

What is the point of investing in infrastructure for a growing and dynamic state whether it is Hartsfield-Jackson Airport, the Beltline, the TSPLOST, or the Savannah port if we don’t invest in our children? None – in my book.

Comments

  1. derek alphran says:

    Thank you for addressing the importance of education ..The lack of state support for education is appalling. As you point out ,we will contuinue to lag behind in college graduation rates and in preparation for the future workforce for today’s economy with out a real investment in public education.

    Derek Alphran

  2. Burroughston Broch says:

    Where is it written that a community cannot supplement state funding and provide more for their public schools? If a community feels that education is important, then the community should supplement what the state provides.