Another Politician Attacks History Majors

Jenean HamptonThis time it is Kentucky Lieutenant Governor Jenean Hampton.  Here is what she told the editorial staff of Louisville Courier-Journal.

“There will be more incentives to electrical engineers than to French literature majors,” he said in January during his budget speech. “All the people in the world that want to study French literature can do so, they are just not going to be subsidized by the taxpayer like engineers.”

The Eastern Progress also reported that Hampton called higher education a “privilege,” and “not a right.”

And it quoted her as suggesting she does not want her taxes to support universities.

“Those of us who go to work must give part of their earnings to put you through college, and I disagree with that,” the newspaper reported.

Update: On Saturday, the Eastern Progress published the full transcript of the interview, which included the full quote that reads, “I would not be studying history. Unless, you have a job lined up.” The newspaper also issued a clarification: “As a student, Hampton said she would be looking for degrees that would land a job after graduating and not focusing majors such as history, which might have limited prospects.” 

By the way, this link was sent to me by a former history major and a lawyer from Kentucky who reads this blog.   I have never met him before, but I am guessing that he has done quite well with his history major.  (I also must admit that I was flattered when he told me that ” your blog is my crack cocaine—-I love your stuff!”)

UPDATE: Here is a response to Hampton in the Huffington Post.

One thought on “Another Politician Attacks History Majors

  1. Despite an amazingly large abundance of evidence generated by multiple surveys and studies on what employers want in an employee, politicians continue to display their lack of knowledge on the subject by using their opinions instead of using facts. That is what politicians do. They cater to people who vote for them whether those people are correct or not. They tell the people what they want to hear. The result is incredible ignorance.

    Here is a study from Bloomberg. http://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/2015-job-skills-report/

    https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2013/04/10/survey-finds-business-executives-arent-focused-majors-those-they-hire

    Here is one John linked a few weeks ago: http://www.educationdive.com/news/how-top-liberal-arts-colleges-prepare-students-for-successful-lives-of-lead/416092/#.VvkcPG4DwvY.twitter

    I have first hand accounts from the people doing the hiring. They want employees who can think. They do not want employees who cannot use their job skills beyond what the basic tasks. They want what a liberal arts education offers. STEM careers are nice, but without the analytic thinking skills generated through a liberal arts education, the STEM education won’t get most people past the entry level job.

    Politicians don’t care about things like this. What they care about is getting reelected and that means catering to the people paying for those reelection campaigns.

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