The Colorado Paradox (the Atlantic)

A review of the state of education in the state…


DENVER— Colorado businesses are enjoying a robust recovery from the recession. Good jobs and great quality of life are luring college graduates to the state. But Colorado’s own students are at a disadvantage.

By 2020, three-quarters of Colorado’s jobs are likely to require some kind of education beyond high school. Right now, about 70 percent of jobs require some sort of postsecondary education, said Nicole Smith, the chief economist at the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce. To fill that need with local talent, the state will need to increase the number of credentials and degrees it awards by two percent annually. The state doesn’t seem to have an issue attracting people from elsewhere to fill open positions; unemployment is an impressive three percent. But the state has struggled to educate the children born and raised here so that they can also tap into the economic opportunities around them. It’s a well-known but persistent problem that locals call “the Colorado paradox.”