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Poulson: Higher Ed should help Colorado’s economy grow

Posted by Kelly Maher on January 16th, 2011
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Barry Poulson, Ph.D., a University of Colorado economist, told us about the problem higher education has in proving that more funding would go to serve students. With the budget battles expected in the Colorado legislature this year, higher education could face an even bigger hurdle, one of whole purpose.

“I would say the most important thing for me at this point is that this state is in the midst of the worst recession since the Second World War and we have high unemployment,” said Poulson. “We have modest growth, and we need to begin focusing on economic growth and jobs. And when we look at any state program, whether it’s higher education or K-12, the question should be, how is that contributing to better economic growth, more jobs, more prosperity for Colorado citizens?

“And this is what I was telling legislators today: when you ask the higher education system what they do, they never say, ‘We are contributing to economic growth and prosperity, we are training young people for the jobs that are being created in Colorado.’ They give some esoteric explanation, ‘Well, higher education’s doing all these wonderful things.’ We need to focus on what’s really important, especially at this point in time.”

Maybe it’s time higher education dusted off its political messaging and provided a better definition of purpose - if they expect to avoid further cuts.

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  • Post by Kelly Maher on January 16th, 2011

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