Governor Calls for Change in Education Debate, Linking the Economy and Education

Governor Kulongoski called upon the citizens of Oregon to acknowledge that education and the economy are interdependent issues. "I want everyone in Oregon to understand that we no longer have the luxury of thinking about education and the economy as different challenges - requiring different solutions," the Governor said. "I feel strongly about addressing the two concurrently and making Oregon the best educated state in the country."

The Governor has acknowledged that in order to put Oregon's economy into overdrive, a well-funded and accessible pre-K through 20 education system should and will be implemented. This education enterprise will create a seamless system where pre-K through 12, community colleges, universities and workforce training are part of a single, unified system instead of the traditionally independent sectors that compete for the same dollars. "We need a long term vision that recognizes that education and the economy are interdependent."

Although, the Governor strongly feels that education and the economy are connected, he also believes the issue with education is not just about money. "I propose to change the way our schools do business. I want to consolidate most central office administrative services, create an electronic data system to track and manage student progress; put together one statewide health insurance pool for pre-K through 12 - instead of the 198 we have now."

Oregon's education has paramount implications on the future of Oregon's economy and workforce. Businesses - whether they're here now or coming in the future - will demand a highly skilled workforce. The Governor believes that if we do not reverse the decade-long disinvestment in post-secondary education, and pay more attention to retraining lower wageworkers - Oregon's economy will only be in a decline. "My goal is to solve three problems at once: Businesses need for skilled workers. Help for older workers who feel they're being left behind. And better choices for the large number of students who don't want a four-year degree," the Governor said. He wants to make sure Oregon businesses never have to look outside of the state for skilled workers.

Governor Kulongoski's continuous commitment to education will help legislature move forward, exercise budget discipline, and restore fiscal stability. "This will give us the resources we need to build the best public education system in the country," said the Governor. Acknowledging that both education and the economy work cohesively, the state of our state will only progress.

Read more: Medford News

For full text of the Governor's remarks

Posted on January 18, 2006
Economy, Education, Front Page News