The Oregonian “PolitiFact Oregon” article “Has Oregon lost out on Fortune 500 business because of lower education funding?” by Ryan Kost is simplistic claptrap. Through some leaps of faith (and clearly one is that more funding means “better education”), or at least no clear reasons, Kost finds “Mostly True” a general assertion, never clearly stated in the article, perhaps by Jefferson Smith that “better education is important to business.” Actually, I am really not sure what Kost finds “Mostly True.” Is it only “better education is important to business?” Is it that more funding equals better education equals more business? Is it that more funding equals better education equals more Fortune 500 firms in Oregon? I cannot tell.
From the Oregonian article (here):
During his testimony, Smith sought to silence critics who might question the timing of the bond, given how depressed the economy remains. The fact is, he said, that education is inextricably tied to a healthy economy in the state.
The connection between the economy and education becomes clear, he said, "when we understand and compare what's happened in Minnesota, when in 1980 they had 10 Fortune 500 companies and so did Oregon, and now they have 19 and we have two.
"And the biggest difference has not been tax rates -- they've been paying more taxes -- one of the most obvious differences is they've invested in their schools." …..
As someone who repeatedly argues that more funding does not by itself equal better education, I find Kost’s arguments fuzzy. As this blog advocates, changes (principally more foreign language immersion programs (especially Mandarin), many more opportunities for online learning to cut costs, and creation of paid high school study abroad programs) are needed before additional public funds are handed over to the current Oregon educational establishment. To their shame, they do not want these changes.
Kost’s article has none of these nuances. He just ignores them and others. I think he drank just a bit too much of the Oregon educational establishment’s kool-aid. They want more money with as few changes as possible. They are the status-quo. They will not bring the businesses and jobs as well as a changed educational system could, whatever Kost says.