The digital South and education

Published 5:56 pm Tuesday, August 4, 2009

In today’s global economy and with the economy moving more toward technology and services than hard-core manufacturing, the more education, the better.

But even in those areas of the country, including the Deep South, where we still depend on manufacturing as a basis for the economy, education is important. Very few jobs are available to those without high school diplomas or the GED equivalent.

The future of earning a living will demand more skills than ever. For instance, this country is on the cusp of a booming healthcare industry. Baby boomers are aging, immigrants are moving into the county and, if the healthcare proposals of the Obama administration become reality, this nation will need more healthcare workers than ever, from nursing to hospice to health informatics specialists.

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Still not convinced, then look around at how the world is becoming more digital all along. One of the cutting edge jobs emerging now is data miner, a person who uses statistics to predict or explain customer behavior.

The key to these cutting-edge jobs; to the future is education.

On Tuesday, Congressman Artur Davis, a Democratic candidate for governor in 2010, released a plan to prevent drop-outs and keep children in school. His zeo-tolerance policy for children dropping out of school includes taking the exceptions from current state law that revokes driver’s licenses for drop-outs.

Davis wants a “no excuses” policy to revoke the driver’s license of any student who drops out for non-medical reasons. That’s a tough policy.

But he combines the effects for children with their parents, instituting a child tax credit of $500 per SCHIP-eligible household. But if the kids of those eligible households drop out, skip school or use or threaten violence against teachers or other students, the parents lose their credit.

That puts the onus on both parties.