Last week, we made the case that one of the reasons South Carolina should consider Education Savings Accounts is because rural and low-income districts in South Carolina require structural education reforms.
This week, let’s consider another reason South Carolina should consider Education Savings Accounts: Hurricane Gray.
The startling fact is that the number of South Carolinians over the age of 65 is expected to nearly double from 2010-2030. This will result in growing pressure on the healthcare industry and state retirement system. At the same time, an increase in children aged 5-17 will mean added financial costs to the education system. The impact of the simultaneous growth of both of these segments of the population is two-fold.
First, because the work-force is retiring at a rate slower than it is being replenished, the financial pressure on South Carolina’s working-aged adults will increase significantly. According to Dr. Matt Ladner, an expert at the Foundation for Excellence in Education:
“Generally, at any given point in time, working-age people bear the primary burden of financing current education and health spending, whereas the young and the elderly consume such services disproportionately.”
In other words, the cart is getting heavier to push and South Carolina is going to have fewer people to push it.
Second, if the workforce of 2030 is currently sitting in the classrooms of today, shouldn’t we be doing everything in our power to ensure that every student has a fair shot at success? Again Dr. Ladner explains:
“We should regard each and every student that fails to graduate or graduates without the skills to succeed in either college or the workplace as a tragic waste of human potential. The state cannot afford to make this mistake now, and the cost will rise dramatically in the future.”
Doesn’t the increased pressure that will be put on the work-force in the decade to come require our attention now? We think it does.
The long-term health of our state requires healthy classrooms today. And that means more choice for parents and equity for students than we currently offer. As we’ve said before: we know we have a lot of progress to make.
The good news is that we can do just that, if we align education investment in the Palmetto State’s students in a way that delivers accountable outcomes. Education Savings Accounts are one innovation that will help us create that kind of responsive education model of the future, as we batten down the hatches for South Carolina’s approaching Hurricane Gray.