Thursday, July 7, 2011

State's business ranking falls with neglect of education

What do Georgia and North Carolina have in common?

Both are known for supporting their public school systems -- North Carolina makes it a high priority in the budget process, and Georgia crafted its lottery laws specifically to support public education -- and both rank in the top five states attracting business investment.

Maybe this will get Governor Nikki Haley's attention. Do you think investors in Munich, Paris, New York and New Delhi look at rankings like this?

South Carolina may have received national recognition for landing large investments from Boeing and Amazon, but the state saw its ranking drop to 37th among top states for business, according to CNBC. Last year, the state ranked 31st.

The annual list rates states based on the cost of doing business, workforce, quality of life, infrastructure and transportation, economy, education, technology and innovation, business friendliness, access to capital and cost of living.

"A lot of it is perception-based. Some of it is reality," says Otis Rawl, president and CEO of the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce. He thinks many businesses do look at rankings like this.

What makes the ranking even more troubling is the fact that North Carolina and Georgia are often South Carolina's main competition when trying to attract new business, and North Carolina ranks 3rd on the list and Georgia ranks 4th.

That's a nasty difference in ranking.

Where do we stand in the education ranking?
North Carolina, 18; Georgia, 22; South Carolina, 46.

Says CNBC:

Education and business go hand in hand. Not only do companies want to draw from an educated pool of workers, they want to offer their employees a great place to raise a family. Higher education institutions offer companies a source to recruit new talent, as well as a partner in research and development. We looked at traditional measures of K-12 education including test scores, class size and spending.

Looks like spending on public education does matter.

What about infrastructure?
Georgia, 2; North Carolina, 3; South Carolina, 19.

Georgia, 35; North Carolina, 41; South Carolina, 49.

North Carolina, 3; Georgia, 4; South Carolina, 6.

Cost of Living?
Georgia, 9; North Carolina, 22; South Carolina, 28.

Quality of Life?
North Carolina, 33; Georgia, 38; South Carolina, 42.

Surely South Carolina ranks above its neighbors in something.

Oh, that's right. Andy Brack, publisher of the Statehouse Report, compiled that list last month: We lead the nation, or rank pretty high, in violent crime, premature births, strokes, infant mortality, unemployment, obesity, diabetes and poverty.

See, we're winning at something.

By the way, what does the governor's office have to say about this news?

But the state Commerce Department and the governor's office question the CNBC rankings, because other business groups have a much different opinion about the state.

I'm sure they do.

1 comment:

  1. It appears to me that this article is of no concern to most citizens here in SC, let alone anywhere else. It's no wonder many like myself (a certified educator) have been unemployed for years. I long gave up waiting for change since moving here.