Thursday, March 23, 2006

Majoring in Florida

So here's the thing. I'm not a big supporter of Jeb Bush, usually. I'm not so sure that's the case in this specific instance. Quick overview, Jeb wants to start having high schoolers declare a major.

Schoolers? Is that right?


"You know what? There is no Easter Bunny! That over there's just a guy in a suit!"

Ok. Back to the task at hand.

On the one hand, this could very easily turn into a lot of stress for a lot of kids, mostly in pressure from parents who want their kid to be a doctor, and so force the young'n to major in bio or, if they're particularly awesome, chemistry. And that's not good times.

On the other hand, I think that students should be allowed to self-design their curriculum as long as certain minimum criteria are still being met. I like the concept of having to have a minor, so long as that minor is in a field disparate from that of the major. I really do support the concept of a liberal arts education, and think that I benefited from having to go through all of that German/Econ/Psych junk at Allegheny. I disagree with Jebuchadnezzar that this'll stop, or significantly decrease dropouts, but I'll let him have that. If implemented properly, I don't see how it would be much different than the already existing vocational programs, except that it would allow kids that are really into chemistry study more chemistry, those that are really into english focus on that and those that are really into machining work on machining.

Then again, college students can be really stressed out, and many probably don't need that extra pressure. Those that are really driven to study whatever are going to do that regardless of whether there's an actual system designed for them (and they shall weep when I fail them on their lab reports, and such), and they might be successful at that (e.g. R. B.) or they might have an anyeurism, but that's independent of what's going on here, I think.

Final Verdict: Interesting experiment. You Floridians tell me how you like that.


Rory said...

I remember argueing senior year with my GC about why I need to know my major. I mean, i wouldn't even be working for at least another four years. What's peculiar about this case in Florida, is that this isn't some social experiment, its a solution to a problem. The problem being that their school system is hosed and I have siblings and a niece that can attest to that.

9th grade is way too soon to be picking a major. and while there may be some benefit to selecting a focus at that age, how do you know you want to pursue a career in say physics, before you even know what that is. High school kids and their parents are already paranoid enough about stupid shit that doesn't matter, they don't need another item to top the stack.

Jenna said...

High school is a time to experiment with marijuana, sex, petty crime, alcohol, homosexuality, swear words, pregnancy, and ABOVE ALL school subjects.

Limiting yourself to one subject is like limiting yourself to one brand of shitty beer you get your older brother to buy you, or like limiting yourself to only one racial slur when you spraypaint on the walls. Kids need to explore their options, Jeb! Kids need to find themselves!