It is often said that our greatest resource is our youth. That could not be more true than it is in our increasingly competitive business marketplace.
Although many of his actions of late have seemed to have been motivated more by conservative pandering than sound government, Gov. Sam Brownback has stepped up in support of higher education in the state. He will visit leaders and students at public universities and colleges around Kansas in the next couple months to discuss his support for higher ed funding.
This is a wise move since it is this schooling that will prepare our young people to meet the needs of the increasingly global economy.
The Republican governor said in a news release issued Monday that protecting higher education funding must be a priority as the state makes spending decisions for the next two budget years. “I believe the state must live within its means and recognize there are difficult spending decisions we must make,” he said.
“This is why my administration has worked to reform state agencies so they are more efficient and effective,” he said. “However, there are core responsibilities that we must protect – higher education is one of them.”
He went on to say his proposed two-year budget holds higher education harmless and includes targeted funding “important to our state’s economic growth. I have challenged education leaders to focus their schools on improving student results. It is important we keep state funding level.”
Brownback also emphasized the importance of continuing the momentum to increase the number of high school students who are career and college ready through the Career and Technical Education program (CTE) launched this school year.
“For Kansas to compete in the marketplace and help businesses meet their workforce needs, we established a way students could immediately have a marketable skill to begin their career or to get a job that will help pay their way through college. Cutting funding for the community and technical colleges that support the CTE program would hinder students from obtaining industry-recognized credentials by the time they graduate from high school and diminish the workforce pool for businesses,” Brownback said.
Brownback’s tentative schedule begins with stops April 22 at Wichita State University and Butler Community College and concludes May 6 at Kansas State University.
Kansas legislators are still working on the state budget for the fiscal year that starts July 1. They return May 8 from a break that began April 5.
Brownback is correct in saying all state agencies must find efficiencies. But, we can’t afford to cheat our next generation of thinkers and high-skilled workers.