Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Three SC colleges on top-value list... yea but

The headline in the Greenville News celebrated the fact that South Carolina has Three state colleges on top-value list, Magazine puts Clemson, USC, Charleston among 100 public schools offering 'stellar' education at reasonable cost. "Clemson ranks 24th and the University of South Carolina ranks 31st on a Kiplinger's Personal Finance list released today of top values in public colleges", while the College of Charleston ranks 56th.

Yea but ... the top of the list is dominated by neighboring southern states:
1. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
2. University of Florida
3. University of Virginia
4. College of William and Mary
5. New College of Florida
6. University of Georgia

Improvements in per capita income in South Carolina tracked improvement in North Carolina and Georgia for most of the twentieth century, until about 1980. Then greater enhancements in higher education in our neighbors started to kick in, and per capita income in North Carolina and Georgia has grown faster than South Carolina for the last 25 years.

While it's good that SC's improving, let's appreciate we're still behind. Now's not the time to be talking about cutting back on funding for higher education. Other's aren't treading water while we catch up.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dear Sir,

You are certainly right about the 'relativeness' of the government's investment in higher education, and thus, the real vs. perceived value of return-value to the state, i.e. the taxpayers and private donors that are providing the funding.

Further, as a student of one of the SC's fine institutions I will make this statement on behalf of myself and MANY of my colleagues. 'Upon graduation, many of us will be taking our intellectual capital obatined largely by the aforesaid excellent & cost-effective education, and, leaving for places that have an exceptional & 'RELATIVELY' greater number of exceptional leaders, policies and entrepreneurial infrastructure. That many of us will be leaving for places where a relatively large portion of people in positions of power, authority & influence are courageously taking the progressive long-term views towards economic development (e.g. seed funding, incubators, technology transfer processes & channels, etc., etc.).

Of course, there are some like you that seem to 'get it', and, are courageously speaking out loudly, and most importantly, ACTING on your convictions. But while people such as yourself understand things like the 'knowledge economy', 'crossing the chasm', intangible assets, etc., etc.,,, you are one of a 'relative' few in SC that do (particualrly with respect to those in positions where they can/could effectively do something with such knowledge/insight).

There are far too many people with no real desire to gain understanding, much less, those with a willingness to commit to taking sustainable long-term views/efforts (read: 'relatively' few that do).

SIDE BAR: Are their reasons and motivations important here? Aside from those 'well meaning' persons operating through the less than sinful act of ignorance, there are of course too many that don't seek out superior intiatives because they won't/don't produce laudable fruit before upcoming elections, or, don't add to the 'bottom line' before their next stock options 'time out'.

Thus, until, or if, the wonderful state of South Carolina crosses it's CHASM of superior 21st-century economic development, the lion's share of the states best graduates will be leaving for the 'relatively' greener pastures PREPARED by other leaders and policy-makers, states, regions, etc.

The mindset and tactics of chasing 'smoke stacks' & 'buffalos', offering free land, tax incentives, cheap labor, turn-key 'distribution' centers', and,,,, simply pushing more students through college & universtity,,,, does NOT, and will not, produce superior long-term results for any state, country or economic region; relatively speaking of course.

Good luck to you sir, I can imagine that you often feel like a prophet in the wilderness.