THE BLOG
06/05/2013 08:36 am ET Updated Aug 05, 2013

Are College Degrees Supposed to Be Nothing More than Job Training Certificates?

Forbes just reported on what it considers the "worst" college degrees. Their criteria? The. unemployment rate for people who had these majors and their income when employed vs. the cost of the degrees.

Archeology and Anthropology were no. 1. My own college major English was no. 10. Others included Theater and Liberal Arts.

The list amused me because I remember a discussion with an Insurance industry executive who complained that the Business majors applying for jobs at his company couldn't write well and couldn't analyze what they read. "I should be hiring English majors!"

I'm proud to say that at one point in my college career, after having been consecutively a French major, a Social Sciences major and a History major, I was a double major in Theater and English. I enjoyed all my courses.

I never performed in a single play after college, but my time taking theater classes wasn't just fun, it deepened my appreciation of drama both from the perspective of performance and of writing. It made me an inveterate playgoer as an adult living within driving distance of Ontario Stratford Festival.

It changed my understanding of teaching which I did in the 80s and am doing again at Michigan State University. Better still, it made me a dynamic performer of my own work on book tours, even in another language, earning me standing ovations at more than one gig. As for my ultimate major, English, it's stood me in good stead as a newspaper, radio, and on-line reviewer; as a radio talk show host interviewing authors; and an author myself.

Would I have made more money having majored in something else? How can anyone guarantee that? Forbes marshals statistics as if that proves their case indisputably, but the real agenda is what the GOP is pushing nationwide: forcing state schools to eliminate "frivolous" majors. They hate teachers, hate professors, hate any field of study where people are encouraged to question, to consider alternatives. They want a nation of drones ready to follow orders after taking "useful" majors. That sounds suspiciously like the old USSR to me.

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