College & Workforce Readiness Opinion

Education, Not the Economy, Is the Most Important Issue

By John Wilson — August 20, 2012 1 min read
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If you live in a battleground state like I do, you are bombarded with television and radio ads for President Obama and Governor Romney. It does not take long to determine that 75 percent of these ads are blasting the opponent for causing some economic condition. Obama is responsible for unemployment of over 8 percent. Romney is responsible for outsourcing American jobs. It goes on and on ad nauseam.

It is very clear that the candidates have determined that the election will be decided by the one who convinces voters that he is the best candidate for the economy or, based on the quality of their ads, it may be the one who is not the worst.

I have a different perspective. I read that the unemployment rate for college-educated workers is only 4 percent. Then I learned that there are thousands of jobs that are unfilled because we cannot find applicants with the education essential for those jobs. Engineering jobs are high on that list. I would contend that the most important issue in this election is education and strong public schools to ensure more college-educated and career-ready workers. That will advance our economic situation.

We have a knowledge-based economy, and many countries are very competitive with us. The next economy for us will be an innovation economy. We will need more educated workers, and we will need those workers to have 21st century skills.

Maybe we should select a president who is committed to an education agenda that makes college affordable and available to any high school graduate. How about a president that invests in ensuring that high school students graduate with skills needed to meet college and career standards? I would vote for a president who gets that a strong core curriculum with 21st century skills will prepare the next workforce for an innovation economy. Finally, I want a president who respects and honors teachers and who works with their unions to lift the teaching profession to high standards and high salaries.

When I go in the voting booth, I am voting education as the most important issue. I will be watching for those ads that demonstrate that some candidate gets it, and he will get my vote.

The opinions expressed in John Wilson Unleashed are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.