Today, Rick Scott basically told all liberal arts majors that you are wasting your time and money at college and “we don't need them here [in Florida].” Wow. Governor Alien Head is alienating yet another voting bloc. Not even a year into his term, he has pissed off just about every demographic in the state. One has to wonder if he really wants to be re-elected. Hell, one has to wonder if he even wants to make it to the end of his first term. (Mother Jones has an excellent article on his attacks on liberal arts programs on right-wing radio.)
In his emphasis to push to reduce funding for liberal arts and push more funding toward the “STEM” disciplines (science, technology, engineering & mathematics), I think he should have taken the time to check out what is defined as liberal arts. The Encyclopedia Britannica defines them as “The term liberal arts refers to a curriculum that imparts general knowledge and develops the student’s rational thought and intellectual capabilities, unlike the professional, vocational, and technical curricula emphasizing specialization. The contemporary liberal arts comprise studying literature, languages, philosophy, history, mathematics, and science.” (Hey Governor, I believe two of your STEM disciplines are in here. Di d you know that? Here’s the Wikipedia link if you don’t believe me.)
Now don’t get me wrong, I am all for more people getting science, technology, engineering and math degrees. Personally, I feel we really need to step up our game in this country regarding these subjects because we have been falling off our game in recent years. We need to get our competitive edge back if we want to keep up with the rest of the world. But this doesn’t need to be done at the expense of other degrees. There is a place in the world for everyone, and not all people are called to be scientists, IT’s, engineers or mathematicians. To dismiss the liberal arts (or at least the one’s he doesn’t like) as “soft” degrees and not worth state funding is arrogant, ignorant and downright inhuman.
He claims it is to have more of our young people to “get education in areas where they can get jobs.” Well, let’s take a look at this statement, shall we? Over here on the Space Coast, we have over the past year LOST over 10,000 jobs. The people who held these jobs held science, technology, engineering & mathematics degrees. When you turned down 2 billion dollars in federal money for the Sun Rail project, that was a potential 17,000 jobs that would have been created, and many would have been held by people with science, technology, engineering and mathematics degrees. Here’s the thing, a college degree is only as useful as your ability to get a job. If you can’t get a job, or the jobs just don’t exist, it is only a fancy piece of paper.
Then there is the impact that cutting funding that goes to the liberal arts programs. For these departments in the larger state universities and liberal arts colleges, this could be a death knoll for them. This would be another economic blow for our state for two reasons. 1.) The loss of these programs & colleges would mean that the jobs of the faculty and staff would no longer exist, therefore more lost jobs. (I thought your campaign slogan was “Let’s get to work,” not “Let’s cut the jobs.”) 2.) The students who would be majoring in these programs would attend colleges elsewhere. When you factor in that these cuts would affect school such as Florida State, University of Florida & University of Miami, the impact is huge. These are schools that not only attract in state student, but a large number of out of state students too. If these students are forced to go elsewhere, they are not spending those college dollars in the Sunshine State.
All I’ve got to say is whoever thought it would be a good idea to vote for this guy, how’s that getting to work-y thing working out for ya?