Tom Emmer has released the second part of his budget plan. In it he lays out his vision for education in Minnesota, a vision in which, apparently, higher education has no part.
“Next to creating new jobs in the current tough economy, our highest priority as a state must be educating our kids well,” says Emmer. Well stated, but what about getting them through college?
In entirely overlooking higher education, the Republican gubernatorial candidate has also overlooked the strong connection between a college degree and job creation, which he talks about a lot. Most students no longer leave high school with all the skills they need to begin a career and require further education before entering the workforce.
This is especially true in Minnesota, whose cutting-edge economy requires a highly educated workforce. According to a study released this summer, 70 percent of the jobs in Minnesota will require some kind of post-secondary education by 2018. In order to fill them, Minnesota will have to produce 152,000 educated workers during the next eight years.
On his campaign web page, Emmer titles his education plan a “Promise to Minnesota’s Children.” Emmer needs to realize that higher education also needs strong leadership from the next governor of Minnesota. After they have grow up, Minnesota’s children will need more education and job training. Withholding any sort of vision for how to fund that education not only fails to inform voters, it also illustrates the inadequacy and misplaced priorities of Emmer’s self-prized vision to put Minnesotans back to work.