Putting Education Reform To The Test

Gov. Scott Wants Colleges to Increase Science and Math Graduates

Joe Raedle / Getty News Images

Gov. Rick Scott listens at a Miami business roundtable meeting in August. Scott wants state universities to encourage students into science and math degrees.

Colleges will need to produce more science and technology graduates, according to Gov. Rick Scott’s economic agenda released Wednesday.

Less than 20 percent of Florida university system graduates earn degrees in science, technology or math — also known as STEM — Scott wrote in a release. That rate of STEM graduates will not fill the estimated 120,000 high-tech jobs Florida will create by 2018.

Scott does not set a goal for state universities, but urges universities to “drive [their] graduates toward high employment and high earning careers.”

“In order to achieve these goals, it is critical that Florida establish a goal for STEM graduates over the next five and ten years,” Scott writes. “High expectations coupled with increased accountability will ensure that our universities are a driving force for economic growth.”

Scott this week used anthropologists as one example of a non-STEM degree that is an inefficient use of taxpayer dollars. The comment was criticized by anthropologists — who noted they are a STEM degree — and advocates for other social sciences.

Scott’s agenda also urges the state to adopt high science and math standards. The state board of education is currently rewriting state standardized test benchmarks, ratcheting up required scores.

Scott has also circulated copies of a controversial Texas proposal that attempts to quantify the production of Lone State state universities.


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