Choosing My Religion
Florida Governor Rick Scott says no one should major in anthropology. “How many jobs you think there is for anthropology in this state?” he asks plaintively and ungrammatically. “You want to use your tax dollars to educate more people who can’t get jobs in anthropology?”
The governor, apparently, wants state funds to be used only for majors in which jobs might currently be available. Perhaps the governor is thinking that colleges should institute majors in picking fruits and vegetables, jobs that are plentiful in some states that have aggressive anti-immigration laws. Gardening and landscaping jobs are also available, along with housekeeping in large hotels. Oh, wait! Americans don’t want to do those jobs.
One job that Americans would like to do, however, is teach, but there aren’t a lot of teaching jobs currently available, especially since some teachers who had those jobs have been laid off. So maybe the governor thinks we shouldn’t prepare any more teachers either.
Scott says he hopes to have a plan to encourage young people to pursue degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Like he did. Oh, wait! His degrees are in business and law. Lucky for him he got elected governor so he can tell other people what to major in.
I don’t know if the governor has kids of his own, but good luck with telling young people what they should study in college. Maybe some kids who are ambivalent could be talked into a science major even if they’re not crazy about the subject. Many, however, lacking interest or aptitude, let alone passion, cannot be cajoled into preparing for a career they don’t want to do. “Follow your dream” is more than a slogan on a puppy poster hanging in high school libraries.
So, yeah, Gov, it’s OK with me if students use my tax money to study anthropology -- or acting or literature or painting or sociology or French or Slavic literature in translation. And if they really want to study math and science and technology, that’s OK too. What matters is that they study and learn, and they can make adjustments later regarding what they need to do to earn money. We need scientists and mathematicians, of course; but we also need stand-up comics, city planners, kindergarten teachers, painters and sports writers. Maybe Scott needs to be reminded that Walt Disney CEO Michael Eisner, for example, majored in English and theater, not business. Former Hewlett Packer CEO and fellow Republican Carly Fiorina received her undergraduate degree in medieval history and philosophy.
It’s a quality of life issue for them and for us. In this country, even in Florida, Gov, you get to pick your own career even if it’s not lucrative.