It’s time for a serious debate about Florida’s Bright Futures scholarships and math, science and engineering fields – but this piece in the Huffington Post doesn’t contribute to it

The Sun-Sentinel’s Steven Kurlander has a piece on the Huffington Post complaining about the possibility that Florida’s Bright Futures college scholarship program may be modified to favor students majoring in STEM fields during the next legislative session.  There are several points in his piece that are worth refuting, but let’s start with this one:

But discriminating against students interested in the liberal arts poses too great a risk to our state.

When I was in law school, I found the best-prepared students had studied literature, philosophy or mathematics as undergrads. They came equipped with the analytic tools needed to understand complex cases, and master the law school game early and easily.

Aside from the obvious point that math is a STEM field, let me respond in a way that Mr. Kurlander might find objectionable – with some test scores.  The Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) presumably measures a student’s readiness for law school.  Here is a ranking of the average LSAT scores for different college majors from 2009 (courtesy of the American Institute of Physics).  You don’t find a non-STEM major until you get down to English.

Average LSAT Scores by Selected Majors, 2009.

Physics 161.5

Mathematics 159.7

Economics 157.4

Electrical Engineering 156.3

Mechanical Engineering 156.0

Chemistry 155.7

English 154.7

Biology 154.5

Computer Science 154.0

Political Science 153.0

Psychology 152.5

Pre Law 148.3

Criminal Justice 145.5 


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