Education key as state ages

In an important story in The Hartford Courant today, we find not only that Connecticut is going to grow steadily older, but also that younger workers are increasingly likely to be black, Hispanic or Asian.

West Hartford economist Ron Van Winkle — a great guy to have on the town payroll, by the way — makes some astute observations, which are entirely relevant to the debate raging in our town.

“We’re losing the baby boomers … and there’s no one to replace them,” Van Winkle said. “We need to take the people we have and make sure they get well-educated.”

Van Winkle said that the scarcity of workers might force some employers – especially those rooted to the state, such as state and local governments – to raise wages to attract workers from elsewhere. “Other companies may decide, `We can’t grow here,’ and move,” he said.

Older workers might help mitigate some of the economic harm, Van Winkle said. Assuming that work life ends at 64 has become “outmoded” in recent years, he said, for a variety of reasons: People are healthier for longer; the stock market collapse of 2001 eroded retirement savings; concerns about Social Security might lead some people to delay retirement.

If we’re going to need to rely on a smaller workforce that includes many urban minorities, we’d better make damn sure they have the education they need to soar in the world to come. We quite literally can’t afford to do anything else. A relentless focus on the mill rate may hold down property taxes a bit, but the price of doing it is to shortchange us all in the decades to come. Shorting education would be an act of collective stupidity.

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5 Comments

Filed under demographics, economy, education, Ron Van Winkle, West Hartford

5 responses to “Education key as state ages

  1. Judy Aron

    This is the dumbest thing ever..
    They are fretting over an aging population and yet they are chasing them out of this town with the increases in cost to live here. We are already losing our senior population at a faster rate than surrounding towns. Businesses are finding it harder to stay here because rents and other costs have risen so high. I think they are bringing these problems on themselves at a much faster rate than in other places, because they are making it more expensive to live here..both in CT and in West Hartford.

    Yes, all the younger folks will be minorities because young professional white flight has already started. Kids out of college cannot afford to come back here to live and settle (after all the money we have spent to educate them!). It’s too expensive for them and quite frankly, they have better opportunities elsewhere.

    Education is not getting shortchanged.. their budgets keep rising. Their enrollment is falling. The number of employees is rising. The administrators are getting paid very handsomely. The kids are still getting a very decent education. No one is getting shortchanged.

    Guys – just look what is happening around you!
    You are forcing a change of demographics with a higher cost to live here.

    Oh – but just call me the wind up Elmo doll.

  2. turtle

    Judy,

    Who is “they”?

    Also, would you mind providing some evidence from time to time to back up your assertions?

    Yes, all the younger folks will be minorities because young professional white flight has already started.

    “All” the young people will not be minorities, but whoever they are, the point is that they must be well-educated.

    Kids out of college cannot afford to come back here to live and settle (after all the money we have spent to educate them!).

    Why should young people want to stay in town? I love West Hartford, but it’s a bit staid. Maybe Blue Back Square will bring more of the excitement and energy that attracts yuppies, and West Hartford is full of rentals that have got to be more affordable than housing in the cities. Still, if I were young, I would want to be where the action is. And what’s one of the great thing about cities? They’re diverse.

    In addition, our fate is tied to Hartford’s. If New England’s Rising Star continues to be burdened by corruption, lack of jobs and underperforming schools, West Hartford will be affected. Needless to say, many people flee Hartford for West Hartford and its schools. Good on them!

    You are forcing a change of demographics with a higher cost to live here.

    “You”? They? Huh? Anyway, what’s so bad about changing demographics? The whole history of the country is one of changing demographics.

  3. Headless Horseman

    Turtle

    Blue Back Mantra, the Holy Grail to save us all!

    Come on, enough with that Bond Heist and Land grab already. It’s up, it won’t stop the Teachers Union and the Education Cartel to keep grabbing for 4-6% each year no matter what the color of the Student’s skin is.
    Wonder why Kevin Sullivan went to the Salvation Army (I love Them)Fundraiser which was featured in Java today. Maybe Kevin has got something up his sleeve to bring affordable housing into West Hartford. Kevin- from Blue Back Big Box threats to Slavation Army This Old Box Affordable Housing! Mixed Use Intelligence!

  4. turtle

    You are not the Headless Horseman.

    Joe, you’re busted.

  5. Joe Visconti

    Hey Turtle

    What are you talking about? Who is the Headless Horseman? Never heard of him, but I like what he writes.

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