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17 things I underlined in the recent report about the state of the state that are sure to ruin your evening



I said I'd read it in full. Now I have.

1. ... the chances of Florida living up to its boundless potential are small indeed ...

2. No longer can Florida be a state that is cheap and proud of it.

3. ... only 21.6 percent of Florida's men age 25 to 34 have college degrees, compared to 27.1 percent of all men nationally.

4. The compounded difficulties of generational, racial or ethnic and cultural divides may make it even more difficult to build agreement on priorities of state and local government and to move forward in addressing the needs of all Floridians.

5. Falling educational attainment among young workers coincides with the arrival of a knowledge economy in which ideas have increasingly become the source of wealth.

6. Compared to today, the Florida of 2020 may need more hospital rooms than school rooms.

7. Retirees have different electoral interests than younger voters. They are more likely to emphasize, for example, health care, quality of life and cost of living over education and investment in infrastructure.

8. Compared to the rest of the nation, Florida has relatively fewer high-skill high-wage jobs and relatively more low-skill low-wage jobs, many serving tourists and retirees. Further, this disparity between Florida and the nation has been growing ...

9. Baby boom retirees will increase demand for many relatively low-skilled and low-paying occupations that do not require much education ...

10. ... the interaction of these two trends — continuing labor market polarization and Baby Boomer retirements — along with Florida's initial low job-skill level and young worker education gap, do not bode well for growth of high skill jobs in Florida's economic future.

11. Given the very slow pace of economic recovery, the demands that will be placed on scarce state funds by Medicaid, and the state’s reluctance to raise tuition, it is difficult to see any way Florida can achieve a reasonable quality in education.

12. In higher education, things are even less rosy. Florida reached rock bottom in the 2012 fiscal year — last in the nation in the sum of state appropriations and net tuition per FTE. Graduation rates for women are mediocre, and even worse for men, and students put very little effort into their studies.

13. While being at the bottom of the 50 states means we can only go up, the prospects for additional funding for higher education seem bleak. The demands placed on state funding by Medicaid and K-12 education will grow, leaving less left over for higher education.

14. ... the coming decade looks to be bleak for higher education in Florida. The "Squeeze Facing Higher Education" identified in Tough Choices has been worse than we expected. A leaner higher education system seems likely, at least for the identifiable future.

15. ... Florida has a genuine shortfall in urban arterials relative to local roads ...

16. The squeeze ... has turned out to be worse than anticipated.

17. Our future seems to be largely focused on providing a safe, warm, pleasant location for great vacations for tourists and comfortable golden years for the nation’s retirees. There is nothing inherently wrong with either of these roles — they can provide a happy enough life for many Floridians. But, we could have done better.

[Last modified: Wednesday, February 26, 2014 5:40pm]


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