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Letter: Higher education is the solution, not the problem

It is sad that many politicians don't understand the importance of higher education and the impact it can have on jobs and the state economy. I have lived in West Virginia and now in North Dakota for multiple years. States like North Dakota and W...

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It is sad that many politicians don't understand the importance of higher education and the impact it can have on jobs and the state economy. I have lived in West Virginia and now in North Dakota for multiple years. States like North Dakota and West Virginia wonder why young people leave in droves. They think that lowering taxes is what young people care about, they don't.

It seems that higher education is especially targeted by conservative politicians, in response to a perceived threat from academia and educated people to their platforms. They believe that universities are where people learn to think for themselves and understand the evils of science (climate change! evolution!) and learn that people from other countries aren't dangerous.

I've seen it happen in West Virginia, and in North Dakota. I don't understand Gov. Doug Burgum and his desire to gut higher education in North Dakota. He wants "high tech" jobs but doesn't want to fund higher education. Where does he think these "high tech" employees will be trained?

How will companies retain "high tech" employees when they have no family or roots in North Dakota? His degree is from NDSU, but he doesn't care about eliminating opportunities for the youth of North Dakota. Not all students want to be computer programmers. Many want to work in agriculture or be a school teacher. Many students will never be an entrepreneur like Gov. Burgum and have no desire to do so.

Without proper higher education funding, many of these opportunities that make the state of North Dakota great will be gone. Several years ago, North Dakota was No. 1 in many different categories; it is obvious that North Dakota has no desire to be No. 1 with higher education and providing the residents of North Dakota as it should.

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Many representatives of the state legislature are not proponents of higher education as well. It perplexes my mind that they chose the prison in Bismarck over the university back in the 1800s and it looks like that mentality is still in place.

Hopefully Gov. Burgum and the North Dakota Legislature will realize before it's too late that education is the solution to the problem, not the problem.

West lives in Fargo.

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