www.mozilla.com Weather Central
Voices
Headlines

What is and is not child abuse -9/22/2014, 9:30 AM

Cannabis politics and research -9/22/2014, 9:30 AM

Future of The Mall -9/21/2014, 6:14 PM

Multiculturalism is a failure -9/19/2014, 9:52 AM

State education rankings -9/19/2014, 9:52 AM

Kobach gone wild -9/19/2014, 9:52 AM

Bias prevents civil discussion of education issues -9/18/2014, 9:35 AM

Immigration is American -9/18/2014, 9:35 AM

Costs to states not expanding Medicaid -9/17/2014, 10:14 AM

Medicare threats -9/17/2014, 10:12 AM

Green fields in northwest Kansas -9/17/2014, 10:12 AM

Consolidation by starvation -9/16/2014, 9:54 AM

School mergers tricky -9/16/2014, 9:54 AM

Hotel tipping -9/16/2014, 9:54 AM

Abuse video revealed nothing we didn't know -9/15/2014, 9:20 AM

Lessons from 13 years ago -9/15/2014, 9:20 AM

The zero option -9/14/2014, 1:31 PM

Why branding ISIS matters -9/14/2014, 1:31 PM

School efficiency -9/14/2014, 1:31 PM

Favors and loot for sale -9/12/2014, 10:10 AM

The 'college experience' -9/12/2014, 10:10 AM

Ellis schools -9/11/2014, 10:10 AM

Hold on, Mr. President -9/11/2014, 9:26 AM

The best bathroom -9/11/2014, 9:26 AM

The day the world stood still -9/11/2014, 9:26 AM

No one can play your part -9/9/2014, 9:55 AM

Playing candidate dress-up -9/9/2014, 9:55 AM

Congress at work -9/9/2014, 9:55 AM

Schmidt is the answer -9/9/2014, 9:55 AM

The liabilities of cannabis use -9/8/2014, 9:21 AM

Downtown decision -9/8/2014, 9:21 AM

Why are red states so far behind? -9/8/2014, 9:20 AM

Taylor's next move -9/5/2014, 10:16 AM

Consider trees to spruce up yard -9/5/2014, 10:15 AM

Washington takes action to reform VA -9/5/2014, 10:15 AM

Umbehr stands out -9/4/2014, 12:25 PM

Leadership education -- it's not a scam -9/4/2014, 12:24 PM

Not supporting Brownback's re-election -9/4/2014, 12:23 PM

A fair fair debate -9/3/2014, 9:23 AM

Suicide in today's age -9/3/2014, 9:23 AM

Regulation overreach -9/3/2014, 9:23 AM

Sharpton, Kobach's common ground -9/3/2014, 9:23 AM

In charge of all -9/3/2014, 9:23 AM

Pocket-book debate? -9/3/2014, 9:23 AM

Educating voters on education -9/2/2014, 9:33 AM

Crazy election season in Kansas -9/2/2014, 9:33 AM

An erosion of authenticity -8/31/2014, 4:39 PM

Blasphemy, free speech and the 'black mass' -8/31/2014, 4:39 PM

Labor Day -8/31/2014, 4:39 PM

Flexing muscles -8/29/2014, 10:00 AM

Blacks must confront reality -8/29/2014, 10:00 AM

The leadership scam -8/29/2014, 10:00 AM

Green monster -8/28/2014, 10:14 AM

The resurrection of Rick Perry -8/28/2014, 10:14 AM

Senate campaign -8/28/2014, 10:14 AM

Right to be heard? -8/26/2014, 10:08 AM

Over-covering Ferguson -8/26/2014, 10:07 AM

Figuring out the tax debate -8/26/2014, 10:07 AM

An obvious ploy -8/25/2014, 9:29 AM

Not-so-beautiful sunset -8/25/2014, 9:29 AM

Cannabis therapy -- Why bother? -8/25/2014, 9:29 AM

Business climate of Kansas -8/24/2014, 11:39 AM

James Foley: Courage in the face of danger -8/24/2014, 11:39 AM

Festering wound -8/24/2014, 11:39 AM

Big banks settling -8/22/2014, 10:16 AM

Tuition pays for this -8/22/2014, 10:16 AM

College textbook scam -8/22/2014, 10:16 AM

Policing a riot -8/21/2014, 9:45 AM

Evil strikes back -8/21/2014, 9:45 AM

Art appreciation -8/21/2014, 9:45 AM

Abuse of power -8/20/2014, 8:22 AM

Ferguson police arrest reporters for reporting -8/20/2014, 8:21 AM

Don't 'got milk' -8/20/2014, 8:21 AM

Another road map to success? -8/19/2014, 10:05 AM

It's the abuse of power, stupid -8/19/2014, 10:04 AM

Riots in Ferguson, and what they mean -8/18/2014, 9:57 AM

One of billions -8/18/2014, 9:57 AM

The GOP presents: Barack-nado -8/17/2014, 2:08 PM

Media and Missouri: What's going on? -8/17/2014, 2:08 PM

Answer the bell -8/15/2014, 8:58 AM

Get ready for denials -8/15/2014, 8:49 AM

Mental illness -8/15/2014, 8:49 AM

Mindless drones -8/14/2014, 9:27 AM

Can-do attitude -8/14/2014, 9:27 AM

'Poor door' -- a symbol of a truth we all know -8/13/2014, 9:19 AM

Eyeing the Ogallala Aquifer -8/13/2014, 9:19 AM

The slacker congress -8/12/2014, 9:02 AM

CIA vs. Senate -8/12/2014, 9:02 AM

The cannabis conundrum -- we against us -8/11/2014, 8:55 AM

The debate is over -8/11/2014, 8:54 AM

The 'Almost' Revolution -8/10/2014, 3:28 PM

Is cross a history lesson or state religion? -8/10/2014, 3:28 PM

Another downgrade -8/10/2014, 3:28 PM

State economy plays critical role in the future of FHSU -8/10/2014, 2:09 PM

Building on past successes for a stronger future -8/10/2014, 2:09 PM

Will Palin's channel rival Comedy Central? -8/8/2014, 9:25 AM

Western anti-Semitism -8/8/2014, 9:25 AM

Patrolmen without borders -8/7/2014, 10:13 AM

Not a choice -8/7/2014, 10:12 AM

Ebola politics -8/7/2014, 10:12 AM

myTown Calendar

SPOTLIGHT
[var top_story_head]

A closer look who really creates the jobs

Published on -4/21/2013, 5:08 PM

Printer-friendly version
E-Mail This Story

By MICHAEL A. SMITH

Insight Kansas

"The average graduate leaves with $22,000 in debt and a diploma which may or may not translate into a real-world job. This system would benefit from a discussion of return on investment." -- Rep. Marc Rhoades, R-Newton, chairman of the Kansas House Appropriations Committee

Liberal arts are on the chopping block. The president of the Florida state Senate recently asked why state universities produce graduates "with degrees like political science, which don't mean much."

I find that quip rather astonishing, given the way our program at Emporia State launches graduates into successful careers: public administration, law, education, political advocacy and other fields.

However, the quote above is not an isolated incident. Nationally, liberal arts are getting the boot in favor of "STEM" (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) fields, which train students for some of today's better-paying jobs. The U.S. Senate recently approved an amendment by Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., to slash National Science Foundation funding for political science data-collection and research. Other fields are not safe, either. Florida Gov. Rick Scott, a K.C. native and UMKC graduate, wonders, "Is it a vital interest of the state to have more anthropologists? I don't think so."

Closer to home, the Kansas House seeks a 4 percent cut in next year's higher education budget, the Senate wants a 2 percent cut, and Gov. Sam Brownback seeks a "flat" budget, at this year's level. All three proposals leave university administrators no choice but to cut, in order to fund employees' skyrocketing health-insurance premiums.

Have we forgotten that liberal arts students are major job creators? Consider a man named Jobs: Steve Jobs, the late co-founder of Apple Computer. Jobs attended, but never graduated from Reed College, an academically rigorous, very expensive private liberal arts college in Portland, Ore. Jobs felt guilty spending his parents' life savings, so he stopped enrolling in classes. He just sat in on his favorites, studying away. He had a particular fondness for calligraphy. These classes had no real-world relevance for an early-1970s corporate America of IBM machines and hard-drinking "Mad Men." Yet just a few years later, Jobs' passion for design would transform our everyday lives and create thousands of new, private-sector jobs.

State-supported universities offer such exploration at affordable prices, so students don't have to choose between exhausting their families' life savings, or "dropping out and dropping in." I went to college at Reed, and I am often reminded of my old school when teaching at Emporia State. ESU's traditional curriculum features small classes taught directly by professors, intense reading and writing assignments, close advising, and deep class discussions. Where will all this be after budget cuts?

Had Steve Jobs sought only job training, he might have learned to program mainframe computers in "C," or configured punchcard readers. He would leave college to be a "jobs filler," not a creator. He would have learned nothing about innovation, creativity, or seeing new possibilities. Technology would have eliminated the jobs for which he had trained, long before his untimely death. Yet Steve Jobs took a different path. He saw what did not yet exist and molded it into something real.

This is the very definition of a jobs creator.

No wonder a 2010 report commissioned by the Kansas Board of Regents found this: Every dollar invested in higher education yields an $11.92 return on investment.

Is it in the vital interest of the state to offer such an education to its citizens? Yes, I think so.

Michael A. Smith is an associate professor at Emporia State University.

digg delicious facebook stumbleupon google Newsvine
More News and Photos

Associated Press Videos

AP Breaking News
AP Nation-World News

View this site in another language.

Kansas News