From the IndyStar....the editorial board connects the dots between public education and economic status. I'm often struck by how people don't see these as connected or in looking at education as investment in society writ large. The positive effects of education counter both poverty and crime yet folks still balk at repair for old school buildings and compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (check out the latest on the IPS Bond Referendum). This state has an economic problem, a governor who thinks that privatising and deregulation is the answer, and whole population of young people without much hope. Getting a handle on this ought not to just be filed under civic duty but patriotism and even, morality.
"Our position:State, despite tight revenues, must be aggressive in improving education.
An invisible cord ties together two of Indiana's sorriest statistics.
Nearly one in five children in Indiana now lives in poverty. The childhood poverty rate increased five times faster than the national average between 2000 and 2006, according to the Annie E. Casey Foundation, and now stands, for the first time, equal to the national average.
Indiana also ranks 44th in the nation in the education level of its adult work force.
What do childhood poverty and adults' educational attainment have to do with one another? Plenty.
It's not by coincidence that Indiana's childhood poverty rate has accelerated at the same time that its manufacturing base has declined. Workers who used to rely on family-sustaining jobs at local factories now struggle to make ends meet in service-sector positions.
What can be done to stop the trend? Well, there's not much hope for Indiana to return to the days when students could finish high school, land a job at an auto plant or other manufacturer, and pretty well be set for life.
The road to even moderate prosperity now runs through higher education, whether with a four-year degree or more technically oriented training.
Thankfully, state leaders, from the governor's office to the back benches of the General Assembly, now understand that reality. But the firmness with which they grasp the concept will be tested in the months ahead.
That's because state government is entering a budget-writing cycle that House Ways and Means Chairman William Crawford calls the "most challenging in its history.''
Forgive Crawford a bit of exaggeration; Indiana, after all, in its long past has weathered bankruptcy and Depression. But the chairman's point is well taken. State revenues were already falling short of projections before the Wall Street meltdown of the past month.
Yet, despite the new fiscal reality, Indiana must move forward aggressively in increasing options for childhood education, fostering better student achievement and bolstering adult education programs.
Finding more money for education at a time of national recession unquestionably will be tough. Lawmakers may well have to accept measures they normally would shun, including Gov. Mitch Daniels' proposal to lease the Hoosier Lottery, in order to raise more money for education.
But, to improve Indiana's long-term economic health, state leaders must do everything possible to build a better-educated work force.
Past failures such as the state's slow embrace of community colleges and resistance to full-day kindergarten and charter schools are contributing to high poverty rates and low per-capita incomes.
That's why it's critical for legislators not to delay once again an aggressive agenda for improving student achievement and creating more avenues for adult education. Yes, the money is tight, but Indiana faces no greater need, no higher priority.
In the past, Hoosiers could work their way out of hard times. Now, they must study as well."
Friends, this seems like a must-see.....education has been pretty lightly covered so far and when mentioned, mostly in sweeping generalities. Perhaps here we'll see some of the deep issues during this debate [links are wikipedia--not the best but "fair and balanced" perhaps]. We might here too start some discussion on the candidates and positions on public education. Have at it!
Teachers College Presents "Education and the Next President" Tune in Tuesday, Oct. 21, 7 p.m. Eastern Time, for this live webcast of a debate between Linda Darling-Hammond, education adviser to Democratic Presidential nominee Barack Obama, and Lisa Graham Keegan, education adviser to Republican nominee John McCain.