Monday, August 5, 2013

This is Why We Abandoned Teaching the Humanities?

If this doesn't wake people up, nothing will:
A study released Wednesday by the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute reinforces what a number of researchers have come to believe: that the STEM worker shortage is a myth. 
The EPI study found that the United States has “more than a sufficient supply of workers available to work in STEM occupations.” Basic dynamics of supply and demand would dictate that if there were a domestic labor shortage, wages should have risen. Instead, researchers found, they’ve been flat, with many Americans holding STEM degrees unable to enter the field and a sharply higher share of foreign workers taking jobs in the information technology industry. (IT jobs make up 59 percent of the STEM workforce, according to the study.)
Colleges and Universities all over America abandoned the teaching and the instruction of the Humanities years ago. This was done because of the thinking that the only jobs available would be STEM in nature--Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. Turns out, that line of thinking was marinated in pure, unadulterated bullshit.

My bias is towards the study of the Humanities. My degree is in English and History because my school abandoned the study of the Humanities as a discipline and I was only able to pick it up as a minor. This is because the Humanities was deemed a worthless degree to confer upon anyone; ditto for English and History. In point of fact, my education has consisted of English, History, the Humanities and Political Science. I have enough credits for a Political Science minor but my school didn't offer that to me. Oh well.

I have no idea why I can always find a job, knock on wood. I just don't worry about it anymore. I've gone through changes and transitions, and I've struggled but I've always been able to find work because I've always been able to communicate and demonstrate an ability to adapt and learn. I got that from the Humanities. Sorry, but what they've been telling you has been bullshit for years.

If you study the Humanities, you end up in one of two places--either you know something about how the world works or you don't. If you know how the world works, you can adapt to anything an employer needs and you become, ahem, employable. You become flexible and capable. We have placed zero emphasis on knowing things and significant emphasis on the things that Thomas Friedman has been talking about for years--namely, a misguided belief in what the world needs based on what Friedman thinks will please the elites and enrich his friends and not on what is actually needed.

The people who end up not knowing anything are a functioning reality in every society. You will always have a significant number of people without skills or abilities. There is nothing you can do about this. They still need jobs, however, and how you absorb them into the workforce is absolutely vital for growing economies. We threw untold numbers of people into degree programs that are worthless and result in joblessness. What we need to do now is understand that not every kid is special and not everyone belongs in college. Not everyone who gets a degree should have gone through the trouble to get C's and D's.

Put simply, take whatever Friedman has said and do the exact opposite. Why the hell not? 

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