Friday, January 15, 2016

Education is an expense, not an investment ...

... only in Arizona.

General Electric has relocated to Boston. Why? Perhaps a more favorable tax environment. But the company's other reasons are telling. Here's the story from Laurie Roberts at azcentral.com.

“We want to be at the center of an ecosystem that shares our aspirations,” the company said, in a prepared statement. “Greater Boston is home to 55 colleges and universities. Massachusetts spends more on research & development than any other region in the world, and Boston attracts a diverse, technologically-fluent workforce focused on solving challenges for the world. We are excited to bring our headquarters to this dynamic and creative city.”

So, to recap. The things that most attracted this $130 billion company were a great education system and the resulting large pool of workers who could fill high-tech jobs.

Why could Arizona not compete in this game?

Meanwhile, Arizona’s universities have endured the deepest cuts in the nation since the Great Recession, according to the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities. Last year alone, the Legislature and Gov. Doug Ducey cut $99 million from universities – a 13 percent cut in state funding. This, on top of $400 million in previous recession-era cuts.

State support for universities has dropped from $1.1 billion in 2008 to $550 million this year -- from $9,439 per student in 2008 to $4,196 per student this year.

And that understates the attitudinal problem afflicting Gov. Ducey and the GOP-dominated legislature. Recall the underfunding of K-12 and the cuts to JTED. Roberts concludes:

In Arizona, education is treated an expense. In Massachusetts, it’s an investment.

h/t Demion Clinco via Facebook

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