President Milliken’s Statement on the Formation of the Nebraska Education Leadership Council
State Capitol. October 18, 2005— I am delighted to join Governor Heineman, Senator Raikes and Nebraska Education Commissioner Christensen in this new initiative, the Nebraska Education Leadership Council. The University of Nebraska was a founding member of the P-16 Initiative in the late 1990s, and we are committed to working toward the goal of providing quality education to students of all ages in our state.

You have heard the Governor talk about the current competitive educational environment. Today, our young people are competing with students in Shanghai and Bangalore, not just with their peers in Iowa and Kansas. We need to do everything we can to prepare our next generation of students to compete on a global level. The most important resource we possess is the knowledge of our young people—indeed, of all people. The best investment we can make is an investment in education.

Educational attainment has an impact on individuals’ quality of life and lifelong earnings, and is also vital to our state’s economy. The State of Nebraska must build our talent pool. No matter who you listen to—Richard Florida, who has written about the new creative class, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates or competitiveness guru Michael Porter, you will hear that we need more workers who can participate in the global knowledge economy. Enhancing our students’ knowledge in key fields will help us attract businesses to our state and keep our talented students here after graduation.

At the University of Nebraska, expanding our research enterprise is an important part of our strategic planning, but our first priority is providing affordable access to education for all. I am very pleased by the Governor’s commitment to education in our state, and to the reinvigorated P-16 Initiative. I look forward to working with him and our colleagues on this new endeavor.

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