Thursday, September 25, 2008
Yes… Coordination Is the Key to the Future…
As a strong advocate for partnerships in just about every sector: business-education, environment-economy, environment-energy, and so on; I believe the article by Bob Mercer in the Aberdeen American News of September 20th hit the mark. He focused on his perspectives for the future of education in South Dakota… which coincidentally, hold coordination as the goal to be attained for the future of education in our state.
Partnership, or as Mercer puts it – coordination, is the key component and the critical action step for the future of education. In South Dakota, we are blessed with a low tax burden; however, this also means we have limited financial resources in our state government. We need an alternative strategy to solve this statewide crisis: Collaboration for a common purpose. We all agree a good education is necessary for our children as well as the future of our state. Education is economic development.
So what can be done?
We as South Dakotans must begin to recognize we are in a new era, a new economy. This new economy is based on knowledge. To compete with the rest of the world we need to reinvent our education or ‘knowledge system’. Our knowledge system redefined and on purpose must be delivered effectively to our people. Our people, in a return on this investment, take their ideas and their creativity and they pioneer new developments, commercialize new products and services and they project our state economy into a new frontier.
Our young minds are the greatest asset in our state. Based on the trend of rural community decline and school consolidations, one would have to admit we have not placed our investment in our greatest asset. Are we ok with this? Can this trend continue forever?
Our common purpose as South Dakotans should be for a better tomorrow. We should recognize potential issues and minimize their impacts. In the case of education, there is only so much financial support available from the state. Collaboration and coordination are vital efforts that will dictate where we stand as a state decades from now. And the standard of living as well as the quality of life in our state will be directly dependent upon our success at capturing the wealth of the new economy.
I am optimistic about our future because South Dakotans work hard and are excellent problem solvers… both excellent characteristics of the old pioneering spirit. But as Mr. Mercer alludes to in his column, our leadership in the Governor’s office over the next several years will make or break this attempt. It will take bold and visionary leadership to not only bring people together but to also get things done.