Chamber hosts State of Education, pushes for increased education funding5.14.2012
The Chamber hosted its 11th annual State of Education Address last week. The luncheon serves as an annual display of the Chamber’s commitment to education as part of its long-term strategic plan for the region.
This year’s keynote speaker was Dr. Dewayne Matthews, vice president for policy and strategy of the Lumina Foundation. Matthews presented research from the foundation regarding the growing demand for skilled workers with high-quality degrees and credentials.
“The latest economic recession has had a devastating effect on mid skill level jobs. Many jobs, such as manufacturing, where workers could formerly be trained on the job now require training and/or certifications prior to beginning work,” Matthews said. According to Lumina, workforce demands in coming years will require the percentage of Americans with high-quality degrees and credentials to increase to 60 percent by the year 2025, a level of attainment that has consistently hovered near 40 percent for several decades.
According to Matthews, reaching that goal begins with PK-12 education. “We should start by making sure that the standards for high school graduation are the same those for college readiness,” Matthews said.
Matthews’ comments were timely, as the Oklahoma legislature is currently considering how state funding will or won’t change for the coming year.
“We were thrilled to have Dr. Matthews as our speaker for the State of Education,” said Susan Harris, the Chamber’s senior vice president of education and workforce. “The Lumina Foundation’s research validates the Chamber’s advocacy for increased state funding for education. Recent funding cuts have caused districts to increase class sizes to such a large size that student learning is impacted; career tech programs for demand occupations have waiting lists of six to eighteen months; and higher education cannot educate more students without funding for more instructors,” Harris said.
The Chamber and its 56 OneVoice partners are currently pushing five top state-level priorities, including: increasing funding for public PK-12, career and higher education and oppose any diversion of educational revenue sources such as property tax caps and tax exemptions and further reductions in the income tax rate.
Click here to download Dr. Matthews’ presentation.
« back to archive