Roberts Stresses Education as Economic Foundation

Article excerpt

Investment in education is the recognized key to continued economic prosperity, according to an Oklahoma Senate leader at work on an education funding and reform program for the 1998 legislative session.

"Every time an economic expert analyzes our state, the advice is the same -- invest in education if you want your economic growth to continue and your personal income to rise," said Sen. Darryl Roberts, D-Ardmore. "I, for one, am going to make sure we heed that advice, and put education at the top of the legislative agenda again."

Roberts, who chairs the Subcommittee on Education of the Senate Appropriations Committee, cited three recent examples of such advice: * Speaking last week at the Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce Economic Outlook Conference, economist Mark Zandi of Regional Financial Associates urged Oklahoma to invest in education and job training. Noting the state's business costs are already low, Zandi said Oklahoma will not be able to attract the most-favored, high- tech industries without developing a highly skilled work force. * Financial World magazine ranked Oklahoma 43rd for its educated labor supply and fourth for its cost of doing business. * A study by Mastercard International gave Oklahoma high marks for its low cost of doing business but rated the state poorly for its skilled work force, noting the low percentage of Oklahomans with college degrees. …