Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis championed the return of trade and vocational education during a Newsmax town hall at The Villages retirement community on Wednesday, claiming the education industry duped many students into believing that a six-figure job was awaiting them with “a degree in zombie studies from 'Shoehorn University.'”
DeSantis, who took questions from a live audience on a special edition of Newsmax TV's “Spicer & Co.” decried the education establishment and its insistence that every student go to college.
“I think a lot of my generation was sold a bill of goods,” DeSantis said during the “Newsmax Town Hall – Leading to Liberty” at The Villages. “Saying unless you go to a four-year brick-and-ivy college, you're not going to be successful. That's not true. If you're able to provide people opportunities, yes, we want to produce people that are good in math and engineering that can go to the four-year college.
“I think that's very important, but I also think there are a lot of these skills that used to be taught many, many decades ago, and then it kind of fell out of favor because the K-12 schools, particularly high school, said, ‘Look, our mission is to get everyone in college.’ We got a generation of kids that went deep into debt. They get a degree in zombie studies from Shoehorn University, and they wonder why the heavens aren't parting for them when they get out. because they were taught, you just needed that piece of paper.”
DeSantis touted his state’s emphasis on vocational and technical education, particularly on the “Space Coast,” the eastern coast, in Brevard County near Cape Canaveral and Melbourne. There, many high-tech companies have located, among them Northrop Grumman, Elon Musk’s SpaceX, Boeing, Embraer, Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin aerospace company and L3Harris Technologies.
“We're really trying to focus on it in Florida,” DeSantis said. “So we want to guide people there. And it's not just, they say get a Ph.D. in engineering, some people will do that. You know we believe we have a lot of jobs right out of high school that if people have the skills that they need at some of these skilled trades, that they’re able to go.
“For example, I was on the Space Coast of Florida a couple months ago and they have an aviation maintenance and mechanic program and so kids are doing it. They will get hired straight from high school by, like, Elon Musk.”
The 42-year-old DeSantis, whom some have touted as a potential Republican presidential nominee, suggested careers in welding and other trades as paths to success, saying college was not the only route. He also noted that parents have expressed concern that many colleges have become more propaganda production houses than educational facilities.
“I've told our universities focus on academic rigor, cut out the political ideology,” DeSantis said to applause from the audience. “We don't want these universities to be indoctrination centers. We want them to be places where students are going to go. They'll gain some ways to think and apply themselves.
“And I think the more that you do that, number one, , the performance will be better, but I think there's a hunger among parents all across this country right now because they worry they send their kid to college somewhere and they end up just being exposed to rampant ideology. That’s not what we want. That it's really not worth the tax dollars.”
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