Florida eighth graders to declare majors

While I was studying at the University of Kansas, I majored in education, German, linguistics, journalism, history, English and toyed with the idea of biology. I actually got as far as declaring the first five at one time or another, but ended up with a degree in education and German. And I never did end up a German teacher which was the whole point to begin with.

According to ejournal USA, an online publication of the U.S. Department of State, I am not alone. More than two thirds of all college students change their major at some point during their college career and may consider four or five majors before deciding on one. In fact, a growing number of colleges are recommending that students wait until they are enrolled before declaring a major, and at many institutions, a student may wait until his or her sophomore year to formally declare a major and graduate on time.

And what does your major have to do with life? Within ten years, most people are working in a field outside their major.

With all the relevance switching majors has on real life, it is only natural that the government at some time would take over and recommend the process take place even earlier. Say at age 13. Beginning with the all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico had received implementation grants from the federal government to implement the program.

Florida is the first to roll out its plan as part of Governor Jeb Bush’s “A-plus-plus” plan to make schools more relevant to children. (Or maybe to the state). This spring, all Florida eighth graders who will be attending a public school, including charters and alternative schools, will be required to declare a major from the state’s approved list of 138 “major areas of interest.”

Every high school, alternative and charter school that offers grades nine through 12 created majors based on the school’s curriculum, magnet programs and career academies. Each has about a dozen majors or more to choose from. Majors in foreign languages, language arts, science, social studies and mathematics can be found at most schools.

Charters and alternative schools have fewer, with some schools offering only two or three options. — Palm Beach Post

I always thought education was more about enlightening the intellect and broadening one’s horizons, but it seems it is looking more and more like herding children into small boxes approved by the state.

Palm Beach school board member Sandra Richmond has high hopes for the program: “As long as we encourage students to think about it and let them know they have choices, and as long as we keep it flexible, I don’t think it will do too much damage.”

I am sure those words are very comforting to parents who entrust their children to the government schools on a daily basis. They’ll try not to “do too much damage.”

Hat Tip: Spunkyhomeschool, who offers additional insight, links and has been covering these developments for some time.

One thought on “Florida eighth graders to declare majors

  • November 22, 2006 at 6:59 pm
    Permalink

    Jeffrey,

    I have some sympathy with that statement. I do think there is a place
    for public education, so long as it is entirely controlled by the various
    localities. Our founding fathers emphasized the importance of education
    and had debates about the founding of a national university, which
    never came to fruition because of constitutional issues. They viewed it
    as very noble, but a function of state and local governments. Here’s an
    interesting quote from one of our founding documents:

    “Religion, morality, and knowledge, being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged. The utmost good faith shall always be observed towards the Indians; their lands and property shall never be taken from them without their consent; and, in their property, rights, and liberty, they shall never be invaded or disturbed, unless in just and lawful wars authorized by Congress; but laws founded in justice and humanity, shall from time to time be made for preventing wrongs being done to them, and for preserving peace and friendship with them. . . .”

    (Article 3 of the Northwest Ordinance of 1787)

    Obviously, we drifted far from that–in our relations with the Indians
    and in our definition of education.

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