Lilly Rockwell, the education reporter for the News Service of Florida, explored the obstacles facing the drive to increase the production of STEM degrees at Florida’s public universities (here’s a link to the story at the WCTV web site).
The most telling quote in the piece came from Frank Brogan:
State University System Chancellor Frank Brogan said universities have to be responsive to student demand.
“Often times we offer more of what is in demand and if psychology degrees are in greater demand (with students), or if Fine Arts are in greater demand than STEM education, we offer more of them,” Brogan said.
And there it is: students as customers…again.
There’s more from former FSU Arts and Sciences Dean Joe Travis, who emphasizes the importance of getting students interested in math and science in middle school and before. And from me: In my comments, I focused on the importance of making students STEM-ready, perhaps through eligibility requirements for Bright Futures scholarships.
But until policy-makers decide to redirect resources toward building interest and preparation in science, math and engineering fields – perhaps against the flow of student interest – we will not make any substantial progress in reigniting Florida’s economy.