Improving education key to surviving economic transition

Recently in the Business Journal Winthrop Quigley discussed the transition taking place in our economy. Key to that transition is an educated, innovative work force. The problem is, as I pointed out in the following letter to the editor, our education system — especially in New Mexico — is woefully inadequate for preparing tomorrow’s work force.

Albuquerque Journal Business Outlook

Winthrop Quigley, in a wide-ranging analysis of the current economy through the lens of Nobel laureate economist Joseph Stiglitz, makes the point that the US economy is in a state of transition that has exacerbated our current economic woes. He further notes that the US workforce is lagging behind in terms of needed skills. This, as our country and world shift away from a manufacturing economy and towards an information and knowledge economy.

This issue should be especially noteworthy for New Mexico policymakers as our state repeatedly comes in at the bottom of the pack relative to the nation as a whole in terms of educational achievement. Of course, in a globalized economy, workers in our state – and by extension the educational system that produces them – are not just competing against other Americans, but also Chinese, Indians, and others.

To say that education reform is an economic issue is to re-state the obvious, but our business community needs to engage in the upcoming legislative session and demand reforms that will allow for greater educational choice and accountability.

Both our nation and our home state of New Mexico face major economic changes. We will only survive and thrive in this transition with an educated and competitive workforce.

Paul J. Gessing
President
Rio Grande Foundation

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One Reply to “Improving education key to surviving economic transition”

  1. As you point out in another posting, NM ranks at the bottom in science education.

    Over the next 10 years, most of the fastest-growing occupations will require science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) backgrounds.

    If we have more schools to choose from, will our STEM education improve?

    If we test more, will our STEM education improve?

    None of the governor’s proposals for education address the need for better STEM education.

    Don’t we need to put our efforts into better Science, Technology, Engineering and Math education?

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