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Originally published: 2013-03-08 10:15:20
Last modified: 2013-03-08 10:15:20

Liberal arts has place in education

What a surprise it would be if would-be education "reformers" were as interested in doing some homework as they are in shouting through their megaphones. Along with a chorus of right wing blues shouters, Gov. Pat McCrory is interested in defunding university degrees that don't lead directly to employment. 

What McCrory and others (D.G. Martin, Watauga Democrat, Feb. 6) fail to understand is what employers actually say that they want: They want employees with well-developed writing and speaking ability, analytic, creative and critical thinking skills, and interpersonal sensitivity (including, yes, multicultural awareness).  

There is no better place to acquire this array of abilities than through liberal arts study. Philosophy, anthropology, history, English and gender studies (to name just a few) require these skills. Far more CEOs of major corporations have liberal arts degrees than profession-oriented degrees. (Perhaps someone on McCrory's staff could look this up?)

Of course, that may not be the kind of career path McCrory has in mind. Maybe he is thinking of job preparation for work in North Carolina's industries? In that case, students should double major in a foreign language -- oops, another liberal arts degree -- so they can find employment in the Third World countries where those jobs have gone. 

Robert Schlagal