In Atlantic Canada, school enrollment has dropped 19 percent since the year 2000.

These are worrying numbers. The next generation’s base of labour and taxes is shrinking. Families are moving west to seek better opportunities. Natural birthrates decline. Greater healthcare costs dominate public funds.

Meanwhile, our education system is under-performing. The upcoming generation must be well-prepared for the skill and knowledge economy.

But just as these problems are related, so is their solution. A more robust and competitive economy would attract more people to stay here, which would mitigate our population decline and provide a better funding base for education.

For Atlantic Canada, fixing our school system means fixing the economy.