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Business offers education funding solution

February 14, 2013

By Oregon Prosperity Project

Education is critical to achieve our goals for job creation, higher incomes, and poverty reduction. Higher attainment fuels economic innovation and job growth, it enhances the life prospects of individuals and families. Higher education levels translate directly into lower unemployment and higher wages.


For the immediate benefit of our economy, the legislature needs to invest time and resources in three specific education initiatives:

The 40/40/20 Goal
Oregon has embarked on a far-reaching effort to redesign the way we deliver education. With Governor Kitzhaber’s leadership, the Legislature has set ambitious goals to increase postsecondary education attainment, and it has authorized sweeping redesign in state governance and budgeting to support great teaching and learning – and better outcomes. Continue reading here.

STEM Education
Business leaders have formed a coalition to advocate ambitious attainment goals for education in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Achieving these goals will meet industry needs for technically trained people – engineers, scientists, and technicians, as well as aspirants in the health occupations. Continue reading here.

Higher Education
Oregon has reduced funding for community colleges and universities over the past decade even in the face of higher demand. We must channel more dollars into advanced education as the economy grows. Continue reading here.

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Discuss this article

johnfairplay February 14, 2013

The government has done a miserable job providing an education to Oregon students with the billions we have already been giving them every single year. Why in the world would I trust that giving them even more money is going to lead to better educational outcomes? New money will only be used for Administrative overhead, and gold-plated education employee benefits like fully-paid health insurance and PERS. Who do you think you’re fooling?

Bob Clark February 14, 2013

The president of Concordia College wrote a recent Op-ed in the Oregonian saying the same thing Johnfairplay says above (in essence). Funding is a red-herring because actual education expenditures have been climbing the last decade and more. The notion of funding cuts is based on cuts from an imaginary budget, the latter which grows without limit beyond the sky.
Rather, the best path forward is deregulating education, and this is the gist’s of Concordia’s Presidents Op-ed. There is a rapidly evolving diverse set of educational programs and resources. Other states are migrating to a more diverse educational structure, but Oregon instead clings to the legacy of the public education monolith easily held captive by teacher unions, administrative interests and political interests. Spending more money simply prolongs this underperforming legacy style monolithic education system. Businesses should be helping to fund vocational schools like Benson high school, as there is quicker transition from vocational training to actual useable, valuable job skills. Business should not just rubber stamp more taxpayer funding for the public school bureaucracy, as this article here suggests. Throwing more money to this bureaucracy simply raises effective demand without doing anything for education supply; and hence, more funding just accelerates the already excessive price of an education.

Bob Clark February 14, 2013

Also, the chart above has some serious problems in the message it conveys. For one, it is not restricted to younger age adults, but retains the bias of past trends maybe not as applicable to today’s job requirements. Moreover, is the degree driving the difference in compensation, or is it the underlying drive and inborn value of those receiving degrees. Actual experience, motivation and creativity creating upper income results may give rise to the illusion of the degree being the primary driver of upper income result when in fact it is the former. For instance, Steve Jobs and Bill Gates were actually college drop outs, and Steve Jobs company Apple came to dominate the value of America’s S&P 500 stock market index. Finally, is a degree really just like a union card, society’s way of making hard decisions deceptively easier. Is an inexperienced college graduate with a degree really that much more valuable than an inexperienced but read non College graduate? Those making the hiring decisions may be looking for the easy way out in hiring the degree and not the person.

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