The Edmond Sun

Our View

October 28, 2011

OUR VIEW: Brain gain plan needs to start earlier

EDMOND — Gov. Mary Fallin came to the University of Central Oklahoma campus along with State Superintendent Janet Barresi in September and touted her new “brain gain” initiative. The goal of the new program is to increase the 30,500 college degrees conferred annually now by 67 percent to 50,900 degrees annually by the year 2023.

To achieve that goal, the pair promised the state would redesign remedial and developmental education, work toward improving Oklahoma’s adult degree completion program, standardize with national norms the certificates awarded through CareerTech and revise the Brain Gain Performance Funding program.

All of these items probably deserve significant attention and time to see that they’re accomplished. They all make sense in helping reform our state’s public education component, especially in the sense of economic development.

But there’s one small problem with the stated goal. If only a certain percentage of jobs in Oklahoma require a college degree, then why should we exponentially increase the number of degree holders for jobs that are not presently here? Why should more Oklahomans go into student loan debt for very little return unless they leave the state? Simply adding more degree holders to the state’s population does not necessarily translate into more high-paying jobs rushing to move here.

You can make the chicken and the egg argument if you want to, but the math just doesn’t add up when looking at Oklahoma’s high school population numbers. Oklahoma is doing its students a great disservice by only pushing the idea of going to college to every student in our public education system. There are many students who would benefit just as much from CareerTech training and be employable with less time and less debt than trying to somehow reach a magic number of degree holders in the state.

What we’re really talking about is a population issue as much as an education issue. And it’s not reasonable to mistake degreed employees for what really could be certified employees.

If the end goal of 50,000 degree holders per year is what really matters, then educational reform needs to happen at a much earlier stage in a student’s development than waiting to worry about remedial efforts at the high school level. It’s true that last year’s legislative session saw a couple of reforms aimed at the earlier grades and we’ll need to see where those reforms take our state’s educational performance. But in the meantime, we’d like to see a more advanced brain gain proposal made for early childhood and elementary education to ensure as many students as possible in our state have the chances they need for success.

1
Text Only
Our View
  • OUR VIEW: Bring ‘dark money’ into the light

    Several statewide races this primary season have tacked toward the negative as no candidate has appeared to have a clear majority ahead of today’s primary voting — particularly in the U.S. Senate unexpired term seat being vacated by Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Muskogee.

    June 23, 2014

  • OUR VIEW: Schools should examine future lobbying efforts

    The Edmond Board of Education will have its annual summer retreat next week in which the members will gather to plan for policy changes for the next academic year. They also will look at the district’s overall goals as well as long-range planning for facility and program needs.

    May 27, 2014

  • OUR VIEW: Don’t wait to improve reading

    One state representative wants to hold off implementing The Oklahoma Reading Sufficiency Act until more funding for the education reform is put in place by the Legislature.

    February 17, 2014

  • OUR VIEW: Votes needed Tuesday

    Voters in the Edmond Public Schools’ District 4 seat will be asked to make a choice Tuesday at the ballot box.
    Running for Edmond Board of Education are Cynthia Benson and Stephanie Bills. This is for a five-year term of service on the board and replaces the seat vacated last year by longtime board member George Cohlmia. Bills was appointed by the Board of Education last spring to fulfill the remainder of Cohlmia’s unexpired term.

    February 8, 2014

  • OUR VIEW: Consider storm shelter petition carefully

    Thousands of Oklahomans are expected to sign a petition seeking a state bond issue to pay for installing storm shelters in every Oklahoma public school. And after seeing the destruction wrought in Moore — again — we certainly support the need for school districts to vigorously pursue adding storm shelters to their buildings.
    However, the mechanism that we choose to pay for this endeavor needs to be carefully considered.

    November 18, 2013

  • OUR VIEW: Even one death by violence is too many

    A recent study highlights the rate of women killed by men in 2011. In this study, Oklahoma ranked third in the nation with 38 women killed that year by men, often their partners. In 2010, there were 27 women killed by men in Oklahoma.

    October 25, 2013

  • OUR VIEW: We’re tired of waiting

    Getting to a compromise before Thursday’s deadline to end the government shutdown and raise the nation’s debt ceiling may take more political willpower and guts than most in Congress currently have to give.

    October 14, 2013

  • OUR VIEW: Caudill should step down

    Oklahoma County Clerk Carolynn Caudill has apologized publicly for her actions. She takes the blame for her Sept. 17 DUI arrest and promises constituents that she will be better in the future.

    September 30, 2013

  • OUR VIEW: Thank you Supreme Court

    All Oklahomans received good news this past week when the state Supreme Court ruled that the University of Central Oklahoma can legally use the Master Lease program from the State Regents of Higher Education to pay for bonds to build a new Oklahoma Medical Examiner’s Office.

    September 28, 2013

  • OUR VIEW: Downtown needs homegrown vision

    Local developer Pete Reeser brought up an excellent question this week before the Edmond City Council.

    September 14, 2013