Silcon Valley has Berkeley and Stanford and its economy benefits enormously from them; Philadelphia has Penn and Swarthmore and Haverford and Bryn Mawr; Connecticut has Yale and Wesleyan; Boston has Harvard and MIT and Tufts, the Research Triangle has UNC and NC State. By contrast, Oregon has an underfunded system of struggling universities whose per capita state funding is 46th in the nation, if I remember correctly. One of them is on the verge of collapse. This parlous situation is already having serious negative consequences for our economy. One example: Vestas, one of the leading wind turbine manufacturers in the world, recently decided to build its research facility in Houston instead of Portland because there was not the depth of engineering talent available here. In Germany and most of western Europe, until recently the state paid the *entire cost* of higher education for every student accepted into a university on the theory that the entire nation benefits from having educated citizens, doctors, lawyers, engineers, musicians. Something needs to be done to make sure Oregon enters the 21st century with at least one world class university instead of continuing to limp along with second-rate, underfunded institutions, losing out in the competition for high tech businesses. Focus on the unwillingness of the state legislature to deal with this problem: Kurt Schrader's willingness as co-chair of the Ways and Means Cte. to cut back on higher education appropriations, for example. David Sarasohn of The Orgegonian has written several eloquent columns about this problem. One creative idea to stop the brain drain and attract talent: Ohio's governor Strickland promoted a law to grant in-state tuition at any Ohio state university to all veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and their spouses and dependents, regardless of their state of residency. Why can't Oregon do the same?
posted 4 years, 9 months ago
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