Sunday, October 16, 2011

Florida Governor: Let's Stop Funding Liberal Arts Degrees

Readers of the compelling Inside the Law School Scam blog know that going in hock up to your eyeballs to become a jobless Juris Doctor may be a waste of time in today's dismal economy. But let's face it; there are lots of worthless or semi-worthless degrees issued at the undergraduate level, too, that provide minimal marketable skills.

With that in mind, Florida Governor Rick Scott wants to overhaul public funding priorities in his 2012 legislative agenda:
Leading Scott’s list of changes: Shifting funding to degrees that have the best job prospects, weeding out unproductive professors and rethinking the system that offers faculty job security...

Scott said Monday that he hopes to shift more funding to science, technology, engineering and math departments, the so-called “STEM” disciplines. The big losers: Programs like psychology and anthropology and potentially schools like New College in Sarasota that emphasize a liberal arts curriculum.

“If I’m going to take money from a citizen to put into education then I’m going to take that money to create jobs,” Scott said. “So I want that money to go to degrees where people can get jobs in this state.”
There has been a lot of knee-jerk opposition to Scott's proposal, but the state legislature seems receptive.

Even if you enjoyed your liberal arts education, doesn't Scott's approach when it comes to taxpayer funding make sense given the condition of the economy? In retrospect, and of course knowing what we know now, would you--if you are a liberal arts graduate--have changed majors to math, science, or business? Haven't the Occupy Wall Street protesters found themselves stuck with dead-end liberal arts degrees?

Added: Washington Times columnist Dr. Milton Wolf (President Obama's cousin) expounds on this issue:
Enter the disillusioned “Occupy Wall Street” protesters... If there’s one thing these overcredentialed but undereducated people excel at, it’s taking up space. They occupy university campuses for years without learning skills that can actually contribute to our society’s economy....Another demand: Forgive all student loan debt. Imagine this thought process: A hapless student goes $75,000 into debt pursuing a worthless degree in community organizing appreciation and then blames not the university that swindled him out of his money but instead, the bank that gave him a loan.

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