Rick Scott has wrong ideas about higher education
Gov. Rick Scott is not making any friends in higher education this month.
His now infamous anthropology remarks may have initially been a misstep, but his recent actions demonstrate that he is indeed serious about getting state universities to shift focus away from apparently less important majors to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs.
Earlier this month, he sent a letter to all 11 university presidents in the State University System soliciting information he will likely use to further his agenda. If the 17 questions he asks in the letter are indicative of how he thinks universities should be run, his expectations are unreasonable and run contrary to how institutes of higher education actually operate in this country.
The letter appears to have been written by Scott himself, and it begins with a brief synopsis of his life story. Scott talks about the importance of setting "measurable goals" and teaching "writing proficiency and critical thinking." While these are valid points, some of Scott's questions are troubling.
Scott wants to create more jobs in Florida and feels that education reform is the way to do that. His first two questions deal with what universities are doing to meet "the needs of employers." Even if Scott wants to treat public universities similarly to traditional businesses, employers are not the customers in the scenario. While many students go to school to improve their chances at getting jobs, colleges should focus on providing a service for students, not businesses.
Students have different reasons for pursuing their majors, and the motivations are not all capitalistic. It is not, and should not be, the role of colleges to dictate what students do after they graduate.
Scott is correct in his call for greater "writing proficiency," as demonstrated by the letter itself, which contains such confusing or poorly written sentences as, "Do you measure the readiness of new students to succeed at your university? If so, do you measure on a per-incoming-high-school basis? If so, please send me the measurement and the results for the last five to 10 years."
Another question asks, "Do you have measurable goals for the number of graduates who remain in Florida post-graduation? If so, please send me the goals and the results for the last five to 10 years."
Scott seems to think that state universities should produce graduates with the skills to contribute to Florida's economy. This is not an unreasonable hope, as college graduates tend to earn higher paying jobs, but it is unrealistic to think universities can make graduates stay in Florida. Just because students go to school here, doesn't mean they want to spend the rest of their working lives here.
Having more STEM majors does not guarantee more jobs, either. In his letter, Scott mentions there are "over 900,000 Floridians out of work." These people are not unemployed because they all majored in anthropology and psychology and are thus unemployable. There just aren't enough jobs in the state, and creating more qualified graduates won't change that.
Get Top Stories Delivered Weekly
From Around the Web
More usforacle News Articles
Recent usforacle News Articles
Discuss This Article
MOST POPULAR USFORACLE NEWS
GET TOP STORIES DELIVERED WEEKLY
FOLLOW OUR NEWSPAPER
LATEST USFORACLE NEWS
- Students warned not to sign up for GetStudyRoom.com
- Despite losing record, Bulls sets sights on conference title
- Z Baked provides warm cookies on demand
- Addicted to Apple: a dire diagnosis for millennials
- USF partners with World Health Organization
- Speaker sees astronomy through historical lens
- Bulls aim to bounce back on homestand
FROM AROUND THE WEB
- Wondering if it's Time to Buy a New Car? Just Check Your...
- Smartphone to Become Wallet -- Are Customers, Businesses...
- Grandparents, Keep Your Meds Up and Away From Young Children
- As Insurers End Coverage for Compounded Drugs, Patients...
- 4 Tips to Start Your Day a Little Earlier
- Join the Force to Fight Lung Cancer in Women
- If You Want to Help Avoid Back Problems, Stop Slouching
- Common-Sense Strategies From a Natural Marketing Guru
- 10 Steps to Help Older Adults Prevent Slips, Trips and Falls
- Stay Cool for Next to Nothing: Power Down the AC on...
COLLEGE PRESS RELEASES
- Peace Corps Director Calls on College Students to Make a Difference After Graduation Through International Service
- USA NETWORK AND VERIZON LAUNCH THE “CHARACTERS UNITE COLLEGE TOUR” COMPETITION FOR STUDENTS TO BRING A USA NETWORK CELEBRITY AND A WORTHY CAUSE TO THEIR CAMPUS
- WHEN GEORGIA SMILED: THE ROBIN MCGRAW REVELATION FOUNDATION TEAMS WITH PIVOT AND STUDENTS OF THE WORLD TO LAUNCH THE #iASPIRE GRANT CONTEST
- Latino Groups Launch National Campaign to Deliver Record Latino Turnout for 2014 Midterm Elections
- The Power of Peer Support: Sheryl Sandberg's "Lean In" Hits Campuses