Monday, September 24, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: A complete education includes humanities

The humanities and social sciences have been under attack by Gov. Rick Scott and other politicians who are insisting on a more direct connection between university studies and specific jobs. Now an encouraging new report to Congress provides a path to promoting the humanities, such as philosophy and literature, as critical components in higher education and in creating well-rounded citizens.

Called "The Heart of the Matter," the American Academy of Arts and Sciences' report outlines recommendations from kindergarten through college and beyond. It sets three worthy goals for the humanities: provide the knowledge, skills and understanding Americans need in a modern democracy; foster innovation and competition; and focus on global leadership.

Career-oriented fields in the hard sciences are indispensable. But their importance does not negate the humanities, which are vital in honing skills of critical thought, reason and debate. Humanities provide a framework to understand the world, educating students broadly about civics, leadership, language and more. The report suggests a new program to create a fleet of "master teachers" who are well-trained to advance education in the humanities, similar to today's master teacher corps geared toward science, technology, engineering and math fields. A renewed focus on "qualities of mind" would stress inquisitiveness, inventiveness, critical analysis and the communication skills that are so essential in all disciplines.

Less than a quarter of eighth- and 12th-grade students are proficient in reading, writing and civics, according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress test. Yet as the economy faltered, humanities budgets were slashed. Getting the fragmented curriculum back on track requires renewed attention to the basics of literacy, civics and history. The report calls for bridging the gap between primary, secondary and higher education by uniting teachers through conversation, which could bring more cohesion to the system.

Other recommendations underscore the importance — and feasibility — of major changes in the approach toward teaching humanities at all levels. Increased online resources would help bolster learning for all students, especially the disadvantaged. Stronger qualifications for teachers would boost proficiency in individual subjects and increase the likelihood that a teacher has a degree in his or her discipline. More funding for international studies would teach students to think globally. To fund humanities research, the report calls for investment from both federal and philanthropic sources.

Humanities complement the STEM fields, and in today's fast-paced world, it's more crucial than ever to have the broad knowledge base they provide. The report says more than half of employers call a liberal education very important. Scott and other politicians so intent on linking higher education directly to jobs should keep that in mind the next time they question the value of an anthropology course.

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Editorial: Florida needs uniform standards for voting by mail

Editorial: Florida needs uniform standards for voting by mail

Vote by mail has been a stunning success in Florida, increasing turnout and making it easy and convenient to cast a ballot with time to research and reflect. But a new study shows that mail ballots cast by African-American, Hispanic or younger voters...
Published: 09/21/18
Editorial: Borrowers need protection from Marlin Financial

Editorial: Borrowers need protection from Marlin Financial

State and federal lending regulations exist to protect consumers from being surprised — and overwhelmed — by ballooning debt. Marlin Financial, a shadowy auto lender doing business around Florida, seems to be skirting those protections ...
Published: 09/21/18
Editorial: Putnam hire stinks of patronage, secrecy

Editorial: Putnam hire stinks of patronage, secrecy

In addition to a lesson on political patronage, Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam needs a refresher on the particulars of state public records law.In January 2017, Putnam hired the 27-year-old son of a former Publix executive to a high-pay...
Published: 09/20/18
Editorial: Investigate first, then hold Kavanaugh confirmation vote

Editorial: Investigate first, then hold Kavanaugh confirmation vote

There should be a timely investigation of the allegation of sexual assault against Judge Brett Kavanaugh before senators hear from him and his accuser, let alone vote on whether they should confirm his nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court. The proces...
Published: 09/20/18
Editorial: Immigrants help to make America great

Editorial: Immigrants help to make America great

The heated debate on immigration could benefit from some more facts, which the U.S. Census has helpfully provided. And the facts show that rather than building walls, the United States would do far better to keep opening doors to legal immigrants. Th...
Published: 09/19/18
Updated: 09/20/18
Editorial: FDA acts to keep e-cigarettes from kids

Editorial: FDA acts to keep e-cigarettes from kids

The federal Food and Drug Administration is bringing important scrutiny to the increasing use of e-cigarettes, requiring companies that make and sell them to show they are keeping their products away from minors. Vaping is the new front in the nation...
Published: 09/18/18

Tuesday’s letters: Honor Flight restored my faith in America

Dogs are the best | Letter, Sept. 15Honor Flight restored my faith in AmericaJust as I was about to give up on our country due to divisiveness and and the divisions among its people and politicians, my pride was restored. As a member of the recen...
Published: 09/17/18
Updated: 09/19/18

Editorial cartoons for Sept. 18

From Times wires
Published: 09/17/18
Editorial: Senate should delay vote on Kavanaugh

Editorial: Senate should delay vote on Kavanaugh

The Senate and the nation needs to hear more about the sexual assault allegation against U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Setting aside Kavanaugh's judicial record, his political past and the hyper-partisan divide over his nomination, a no...
Published: 09/17/18
Editorial: Tampa council has another chance to show it takes Stovall House changes seriously

Editorial: Tampa council has another chance to show it takes Stovall House changes seriously

The Tampa City Council has yet to hear a compelling reason to allow a private social club in a residential neighborhood off Bayshore Boulevard, and a final meeting on the matter scheduled for Thursday offers the council a chance to show the diligence...
Published: 09/14/18