A terrific recent editorial in the Detroit Free Press. Its their summary of what they learned matters most from their series on the collapse of the domestic auto industry. The editorial’s subtitle says it all. Rx for recovery: A new commitment to education.
The world has changed. As we say repeatedly, what made us prosperous in the past, won’t in the future. The days of high paid, low education attainment jobs that anchor a broad middle class are gone forever. The new path to prosperity – to a broad middle class – is knowledge-based. And, by far, the best way to participate in that economy is with education attainment. For each of us as individuals and as a state.
As the editorial says the future belongs to smart states. At Michigan Future we believe that the fundamental challenge facing the state is that we are tied for thirty fourth in education attainment. Don’t improve that and we will be one of the poorest states in the country. Its that important!
As the Freep writes “For Michigan, the way forward begins with a commitment to creating a populace that’s better schooled, better trained, more adaptable and nimble. It has to start with a reinvestment in education.”
That means early childhood through higher education. It means investing in education, but also holding our schools and educators to high standards. Starting with closing chronically failing schools. It means changing our culture that doesn’t yet highly value learning.
The bottom line for us: the places with the greatest concentration of talent from anywhere on the planet win. Where talent is defined as a combination of knowledge, creativity and entrepreneurship. That’s the new path to prosperity. One that requires making education attainment the priority.