Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s statement disparaging majors such as anthropology and calling for cutbacks in funds for social science programs in the state’s colleges has been roundly and rightly criticized. Now a petition is circulating, so you can protest his ill-advised plan, too. (To see previous post on this issue, click here.)
Scott disparaged anthropology programs especially as being essentially useless because the degrees didn’t create jobs (interesting, since his daughter was an anthro major), and another powerful Florida politician joined in tone-deaf chorus, adding psychology and political science to the list.
Petition sponsor Lyndsey Fitzgerald says:
I spent nearly nine years as a linguist in the U.S. Navy. I served in strategic and tactical theaters at home and abroad. I saw firsthand the absolute necessity of linguistic, historical, and cultural understanding in very complicated situations. I came home to study anthropology and now find myself in the biggest fight of my life – or I should say OUR lives. The potential long-term educational and economic damage is sufficiently disturbing.
She also points out some of the fields people with social science degrees go into: “forensics, education, intelligence, public health, crime investigation, law, politics, military, government, business, etc.” I would add journalism to that list. Feel free to make your own.
There’s no need to sugarcoat it. These Florida politicians are acting like ignoramuses. (Am I being too charitable, calling it “acting”?) Ms. Fitzgerald goes on to quote the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics:
Surveys by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) show that most hiring managers care more about a job candidate’s skills than they do about a college major. And the skills employers say they want most in a candidate, such as communication and critical thinking, are precisely those for which liberal arts students are known.
So do us all a favor and sign the petition, even if you don’t live in Florida. Governor Scott and his colleagues need to see what people from all over think of this idea. (after all, they love their out-of-state tuition, don’t they?) And if you live in Florida, good luck. You’ve got your work cut out for you.