Mississippi’s state auditor, Shad White, has proposed cutting funding for degree programs like women’s and African American studies in the state. He argues that these programs produce graduates who are not paid well and do not usually work in Mississippi after leaving college. Instead, he recommends that funding for degree programs should be considered alongside the state’s workforce needs.
In the report released last Wednesday Shad White recommends funding for degree programs should be considered alongside the state’s workforce needs.
“Some programs—like Women’s Studies, African American/Black Studies, German Language and Literature—placed so few graduates in Mississippi jobs that analysts could not calculate a statistically significant median salary for those graduates,” the report states. “Yet the state invests just as much, per student, in these programs as in Electrical Engineering or Registered Nurse programs.”
Graduating more students from high-paying degree programs “and then retaining even a small number of them would inject millions of additional dollars into Mississippi’s economy,” the report states.
White reiterated his office’s position,writingin one post, “Degrees in garbage fields are also bad for the economy” because “they produce graduates who offer no real skills.”
White post on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, “By all means, go take that Latinx Environmental Justice class in Urban Studies. Just don’t ask taxpayers to pay for it,”
This proposal has been met with criticism from many people, who argue that it is an attack on academic freedom and diversity of thought. They also point out that women’s and African American studies programs are important for teaching students about the experiences of marginalized groups and promoting social justice.
The attack on academic freedom is a serious threat to education and democracy. Presidential candidate and current Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed the “Individual Freedom Law” banning educators from teaching certain topics related to race and is designed, in part, to prevent teachers from making students feel guilt or shame about their race because of historical events.
It is important to note that White’s proposal is just that: a proposal. It is not yet clear whether it will be adopted by the state legislature. However, the fact that it has been made is a sign that the value of these programs is being challenged.
Here are some additional thoughts on the proposal:
- It is important to consider the value of women’s and African American studies programs beyond their economic impact.These programs teach students about important historical and contemporary issues, and they help to promote diversity and inclusion on campus.
- White’s proposal could have a negative impact on students who are interested in pursuing careers in these fields.It could also make it more difficult for Mississippi universities to attract and retain top faculty in these areas.
- It is important to note that many women’s and African American studies graduates do go on to have successful careers in Mississippi.They may work in education, government, nonprofits, or the private sector.