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Sun Mar 11, 2012, 10:37 AM

Tuning In to Dropping Out

Provocative article by an economics professor.

"Rick Scott, Florida's governor, created a firestorm recently when he suggested that Florida ought to focus more of its education spending on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and less on liberal arts. Scott got this one right: We should focus higher-education dollars on the fields most likely to benefit everyone, not just the students who earn the degrees. Scott, however, missed another part of the equation: We need to focus more attention on the students who are being left behind, the millions of college and high-school dropouts.

Over the past 25 years, the total number of students in college has increased by about 50 percent. But the number of students graduating with degrees in STEM subjects has remained more or less constant."


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Reply Tuning In to Dropping Out (Original post)
Owlet Mar 2012 OP
Neoma Mar 2012 #1
saras Mar 2012 #2

Response to Owlet (Original post)

Sun Mar 11, 2012, 01:39 PM

1. Last I heard.

After going through adult education class and earning my GED, they were cutting funds to adult education...

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Response to Owlet (Original post)

Sun Mar 11, 2012, 02:24 PM

2. Not provocative, merely conservative


Many STEM programs have taken on the job of corporate conditioning, and at the school I am attending, it simply outweighs real science teaching - you aren't being taught to THINK as a scientist (that is, the processes you learn will not help you in the outside world), but are instead taught to be an obedient worker in an engineering factory. Trusting "authority" and obeying peer pressure are MUCH more important, day-to-day AND in getting your grades, than accomplishing original research or quality reporting. Your job is to fill the box your employer wants filled, and not to question them about what they will do with this box.

A good example of this is the environmental science people at this school, who are quite good at environmental science, but are fascist yuppies as far as designing social mechanisms to implement their knowledge.

When the programs offer an honest university education as well as job training, they get popular with students - you think you couldn't sell an explicitly anti-pollution environmental science program to students? It's the EMPLOYERS who don't want such a program. When science gets really corporate, it starts losing good people and collecting the obedient (which often makes them LOOK larger and more successful).

The vast majority of these "science" jobs, at least the ones available without a PhD, can be learned in a week or two by a competent liberal arts major. I've seen it far too many times to think it's a fluke.

Society as a whole benefits far more from the liberal arts graduate, as they tend to behave as CITIZENS, not merely WORKERS. DU, for example, wouldn't exist without the liberal arts - all the ideas we use to discuss and evaluate political events with are liberal-arts ideas. Without them, we'd be discussing economics exclusively, AND we wouldn't have the meta-knowledge to critique alternative economic theories. And this is why universities insist that even science students take liberal arts courses - the schools that fail to do that fail to produce well-rounded, sensible citizens.

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