Letter: More education isn’t the full answer
In Peter Francese’s column on demographics (“The key to New Hampshire’s future: community college,” Sunday Monitor Viewpoints, March 3), he compares New Hampshire to national averages, not similar states. A major driver of median age in many states is Hispanic immigration (legal and illegal) and existing minority populations, both of which have larger numbers of children. Comparing us to other low-immigration/minority states would give a more realistic assessment of our situation.
We must also look at the other side of the equation: the demand signal from New Hampshire employers. Having a pool of educated workers isn’t good if you don’t have employers to hire them. What should we be doing to make New Hampshire more attractive to businesses?
Attracting businessmen and entrepreneurs should be a priority. The dichotomy of Texas and California show what over-regulation and bureaucratic impediments can do to a state’s business climate.
Finally, encouraging students and young adults to get more education is fine, but suggesting that we find a way “to persuade just another 15 percent of New Hampshire men ages 25 to 34 to go to one of New ampshire’s seven community colleges” assumes that we have another 15 percent capable of handling the rigors of earning an associate’s degree. Given our standardized test scores and the poor job high schools do promoting greater STEM classes – science, technology, engineering and mathematics – this is a stretch.
Education is necessary but not sufficient. States that create a better business climate (and have a better climate, period) will be strong draws for talent. Even if you build it and they come, they might not stay.