Some leaders in the state of Florida want to give financial discounts to college students who major in math or science. So continues the shift in American education away from more classical approaches to a pragmatic approach. It is as if the students who kept saying, “When will I ever use this in real life” are now guiding the education strategy in our country.
We have seen the proliferation of specialty schools whereby students can learn only what is necessary for specific employment. I think this is a huge mistake that cheats America out of leaders and citizens who have a broad view of the world.
I am thankful that my college days were spent at Oklahoma Baptist University. OBU is a liberal arts university. With a liberal arts education, students still take math and science courses. Yet they also dig into the language arts (grammar and literature), history, the humanities and other social sciences.
They’re the places you think of when you think of “college” — leafy campuses, small classes, small towns. Liberal arts colleges are where students ponder life’s big questions, and learn to think en route to successful careers and richer lives, if not always to the best-paying first jobs.
But today’s increasingly career-focused students mostly aren’t buying the idea that a liberal arts education is good value, and many small liberal arts colleges are struggling. The survivors are shedding their liberal arts identity, if not the label. A study published earlier this year found that of 212 such institutions identified in 1990, only 130 still meet the criteria of a “true liberal arts college.” Most that fell off the list remained in business, but had shifted toward a pre-professional curriculum.
Learning to think is a prime goal for students in a liberal arts program. This goal is sadly missing from educational approaches that merely prepare students for a job in the tech or business world.
Parents and students, I hope you will search for a college experience that will prepare for life and not merely a job. With current trends, the search may be provide less options. A school like OBU provides this within the context of a Christian setting.