Monday, February 08, 2010

Lone Star State Exodus

There is something rotten in Texas. The state's disdain for education is driving out brains at an alarming rate. The disturbing news:

Texas has 8 percent of the U.S. population but only receives 5 percent of federal research and development (R&D) funding and 5 percent of the nation’s venture capital investment. If Texas received just its population-based share (8 percent), that would mean an incremental $3.7 billion in R&D funding to the state. Additionally, Texas is currently a net exporter of high school graduates who attend doctoral-granting universities in other states. The state currently is experiencing a net loss or brain drain of nearly 6,000 highly qualified students per year and this number has increased by 54 percent in the last six years. Texas must develop more National Research Universities to remain competitive.

Under-appreciated native talent is finding the grass greener far from home given the lack of investment in human capital. Those who know Texas best are anxious to leave. Texas Tech is hoping to arrest this crisis, aspiring to be just the fourth Tier One university in the state (which would tie it with much smaller Pennsylvania).

The poor research climate is a major economic handicap. Much more public money is needed in order for Texas to compete nationally and globally. Low taxes significantly impede innovation, fueling the brain exodus.

1 comment:

rootvg said...

The reason Texans seem to have a baked in disdain for education goes all the way back to their revolutionary days and then to Reconstruction. Being redneck is a way of life there (even in the Dallas suburbs) and if you aren't the powers that be find out about it and make sure they isolate you. We lived there for eight years and ultimately this was part of what drove us to California in 2003.