Florida, Politics, Universities

Undermining the Future in Florida

Monday, 15th March 2021

In another edition of My Stupid State, Florida now has a bill before the legislature that will change the state support for students going to universities. It is the Bright Futures program, which has been around for a long time, and which parents and students have relied on.

Now what they are doing is to limit the majors and programs that this support can be applied to. By the end of this year there is supposed to be a list of programs that don’t qualify. As you can imagine, with an overwhelmingly Republican state government, this is another attempt to marginalize anything that doesn’t directly lead to a job that they like or believe people should have. It will have the effect, already in motion but accelerated, of turning universities into vocational schools.

We don’t yet know what will be on the list, but attempts in the past to do this kind of thing have made that list very clear. All the humanities, all the arts, all the social sciences, and then anything else that looks like it might make students into anything but compliant wage-earning drones.

I’ve copied a section that says in their words what they see the changes as doing. There is no real indication on how anyone will tell what really leads to a job. It will be short-term, though – your education should get you a job immediately, or they aren’t going to support it.

This is just another day in the anti-intellectual Republican paradise. We know exactly why this is being done.

I’m starting to think that we need to take a lesson from other countries where free thought is suppressed. It is not suppressed here by military power, but generally by soft power, including media derision, scapegoating, and lack of equal support. In other countries, this education took place outside of official institutions. It was in coffeehouses, and in townships, and in union halls, and many other places. This is a state that doesn’t have an answer to the critiques of its misuses of power, and so has to resort to these measures to diminish the voices of those making those critiques.

We will continue to truly educate students, not just train them for jobs, but if they can’t find us or can’t be supported in coming to us, we will have a smaller and smaller audience. And that’s what extremist Republicans want – not a real debate of ideas, but the suppression of ideas.

Effect of Proposed Changes

The bill creates s. 1009.46, F.S., to establish the duties of postsecondary educational institutions for state financial aid and tuition assistance programs. Specifically, the bill:

  • Requires that each participating institution verify student eligibility for funding by reporting the program of study to the Department of Education using the most recent classification of instructional programs (CIP) taxonomy.
  • Requires, by December 31, 2021, the BOG and State Board of Education (SBE) each approve a list of career certificate, undergraduate and graduate degree programs offered by a district career enter, charter technical career center, FCS institution, or state university, which lead directly to employment, to be updated annually by December 31. In determining which programs will be included on the list, the BOG and SBE must:
    • Consider national, state, and regional industry demand;
    • Identify occupations, current job openings, estimates of job growth, and employment wages; and
    • Include appropriate certificate and degree programs offered by eligible independent colleges and universities.
  • Codifies certain existing requirements from SBE rule 21 related to applications for and disbursement of funds, student eligibility and notifications, reporting, and fund remittance, with sanctions for noncompliance.

https://m.flsenate.gov/…/Analyses/2021s00086.pre.ed.PDF

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