Pick a major … any major

Here is a list of majors high school freshman can pick from starting next year. Interesting list. Aviation Airframe and Powerplant Mechanic? Obviously, this full list of 440 approved majors is not available everywhere across the state to all students. My daughter will be right in the middle of this as she is currently in 8th grade. It will interesting to see what all is actually available at the high school she will be attending.

For instance, Palm Beach County has this list approved for their schools:

A month ago, Palm Beach County School Board members approved the Florida Department of Education’s high school major areas of interest.

Those 16 majors, or career clusters, include:
Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources; Architecture and Construction; Arts, A/V Technology and Communications; Business, Management and Administration; Education and Training; Finance; Government and Public Administration; Health Science; Hospitality and Tourism; Human Services; Information Technology; Law, Public Safety, Corrections and Security; Manufacturing; Marketing, Sales and Service; Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics; and Transportation, Distribution, and Logistics.

Personally, I look at that list and go “ick.” I think back to my days in 8th grade and I can’t imagine many of those “career clusters” being appealing.

From the FLDOE press release:

Students will be able to select their major area of interest through Florida’s online student advising system, the Florida Academic Counseling and Tracking for Students or FACTS.org. In early 2007, eighth-grade students can go to FACTS.org, locate the high school they plan to attend and review the major areas of interest that will be available at that school. Students can complete an ePersonal Education Planner (ePEP), an interactive course planner for middle and high school students based on the major area of interest and on their educational goals. Students will be able to pre-enroll in a major area of interest, and once enrolled, a student may change his or her mind the following year with no penalty.

Some reactions out there are skeptical:

There are 440 titles on the list, released this week. Do you know a lot of 13- and 14-year-olds who could pick a career path from that kind of list?But state mandate, as part of Gov. Jeb Bush’s “A Plus-Plus Plan,” says they must pick a major. Palm Beach County has smartly narrowed the menu down to 12 to 14 major areas of study at each of 23 high schools. Broward should follow this path to simplify the process.Students can change majors during high school, and you can be sure they will. You can also bet school staffs will be thrilled with the extra paperwork.

And another one:

Gov. Jeb Bush’s A-Plus-Plus Plan, which will gear middle school students toward a particular career path and 10th-graders toward picking a major, is unreasonable.As a high school senior, having just been accepted to the University of Florida, I am struggling with this decision myself. Checking “undecided” as one’s major on college applications is the norm among today’s graduating seniors. Why should it be any different for middle school students? Attempting to decide your future is a nerve-wracking experience and it’s not something one can do as early as sixth grade.

(Update added later …) I recently spoke with a person in a local school administration who told me that for the most part the majors are really not that big a deal at all. Supposedly what happened was that all school systems submitted to the state major-type programs the various local schools already have in place. The state then compiled them into one big list and “blessed” them. For the individual school systems, life goes on as normal; very little changes. It sounds like that is all just a dog and pony show put on by the state that accomplishes nothing of any significance. Of course, this was one person’s view from one school district. If you know of anything different, leave a comment.

About Brandon Haught

Communications Director for Florida Citizens for Science.
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2 Responses to Pick a major … any major

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  2. Brandon Haught says:

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