Former U.S. Navy Seal Brings Adult Education To The Forefront In Missouri

Missouri Governor Eric Greitens Calls For The Opening Of New Adult Education High Schools

Missouri Governor Eric Greitens

Missouri Governor Eric Greitens (R) signed a bill on Wednesday, July 5, 2017 to establish four brand-new adult education high schools in Missouri. 
 
The bill’s fiscal note says that the adult high schools will be built in St. Louis, Boone, Green, and Butler counties.
 
Greitens’ plans may be inspired by Indiana’s successful implementation of similar adult high school programs.

What Are Greitens’ Goals For the Missouri Adult High Schools?

Greitens calls for the following after the new schools open:

  1. A graduation rate of at least 75% (or demonstrated progress towards graduation)
  2. Entry into college, certificate programs, or specialized training for at least 50% of graduates, within six months of graduation.
  3. Employment for at least 85% of the grads who choose not to go on for more education
  4. A 20% increase in wages for adult diploma holders compared to adult Missouri residents without diplomas

 

What’s the unemployment rate in Missouri right now? 

Missouri’s unemployment rate reached 9.8% unemployment back in 2009 – the highest it’s been since 1983, when it peaked at 10.6%. Missouri’s unemployment rate then began steadily decreasing in 2010.

Ever since Governor Greitens assumed office in January, 2017, this downward trend has continued. In May of this year, Missouri was estimated to have reached just 3.9% unemployment.

A graph of the unemployment rate in Missouri from 2010 to 2015
A graph of the unemployment rate in MO from 2010 to 2015. See: Unemployment Rate in Missouri


How is unemployment in Missouri related to education?

High school graduation rates in Missouri have continually improved since 2010. The graph below shows a steady upward trend of the graduation rates for lower income students. 
A graph of Missouri high school graduation rates for low income students from 2010 to 201
A graph of MO high school graduation rates for low income students from 2010 to 2015. See: High School Graduation Rates by State
Both graphs only show the data until 2015, but I can assure you that the trend has continued. I’m no statistician, and I’m not a Missouri resident, so I can only speak from a common sense perspective here. What I see from both of these graphs taken together is a striking observation:
 
Since 2010, the unemployment rates in Missouri have fallen, while the high school graduation rates have simultaneously risen. 
 
Sure, there are many other factors involved. That being said, I still believe there’s a connection here, and I’m confident Greitens is aware of this.


My Prediction

Governor Eric Greitens is shown dancing with his wife, Sheena Greitens, during his inauguration.
I predict that Missouri will continue to see improvements with both increasing high school graduation rates and in decreasing unemployment rates. Greitens’ plan is rather ambitious, and I don’t know if the numbers he’s calling for right now are realistic yet (although I hope they’re achieved).
 
I also think his call for a 20% increase in wages of graduates versus non-diploma holders is on the aggressive side. However, this may be just what Missouri needs, because the plan has the potential to incentivize more people to get their diplomas. 
 
I don’t know if it’s the fact that Greitens is a former U.S. Navy Seal, or what, but something about him makes me like him. 
 
As a registered independent, I also like the fact that Greitens has been affiliated with both the Democratic and Republican parties at different times. Regardless of how he’s governing right now, there’s reason to believe he’s non-partisan on some issues.
 
I’ll admit that although I found this campaign add a little shocking at first, after watching it again, I now think it was a great fit for his style. 
 
This is the video I’m referring to:
 

I’m always really happy to see politicians addressing adult education issues. The recent bill-signing in Missouri is no exception. I’ll be cheering for success for the new adult high schools, and I’m eager to see how this all plays out! 

Regardless of your political leanings (as I said, I’m a registered independent), Governor Greitens deserves some credit for making adult education a key issue! 
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