Hundreds tell Gov. McCrory to “respect” liberal arts education

mccrory-121cGovernor Pat McCrory is finding little support for comments he made earlier this week that the basic funding formula for higher-education should be based on how well universities do in placing students in the world of work.

McCrory told a national audience on Bill Bennett’s “Morning in America” show Tuesday:

“I think some of the educational elite have taken over our education where we are offering courses that have no chance of getting people jobs…”

“….if you want to take gender studies, go to a private school and take it. But I don’t want to subsidize that if it’s not going to get someone a job.”

That kicked off a petition drive by a Ph.D. student at UNC who has collected more than 1,600 signatures (as of this writing), telling Governor McCrory to give UNC’s liberal arts program “the respect it deserves and keep your politics out of it.”

Here’s a sampling of the comments accompanying the petition:

‘Reading, writing and upper level thinking skills comprise the backbone of an education. Please do not remove the backbone of our future, or else we’re just a societal pile of mush.’ –  Marissa E., Carrboro, NC

‘How did NC elect a Governor who does not understand the relationship between the humanities in higher education to the creation of a good society filled with creative minds?’ – Robert S., Carolina Beach, NC

‘Dear Gov McCrory: After studying a liberal arts curriculum at UNC, I have enjoyed a 30-year (and counting) journalism career. I was California Newspaper Executive of the Year in 2002, share a Pulitzer Prize with staff members at the Miami Herald, and many other awards. My liberal arts education at UNC-Chapel Hill was second to none. I’m confused by your recent comments that people who study liberal arts “have no chance of getting … jobs.” North Carolina universities used to be among the best in the nation. It takes a well-rounded curriculum to produce a well-rounded education.’ – Tracie C., Fresno, CA

‘Even though I am a science major, I have found the diversity of interests at UNC has allowed me to meet all sorts of people that I never would have met if I went to a school much more focused on science. I enjoy conversations with people who have very different interests than I do. They have bright futures ahead of them, and we need to continue to have a diversity of interests at UNC.’ – Ilona F., Chapel Hill, NCUNC petition

‘Shocked and disappointed by Gov. McCrory taking such a ridiculous and ill-informed stance. Yes, we need job training and yes, we need to support community colleges, but not at the expense of UNC liberal arts programs.’ – Lori C.,  Chapel Hill, NC

‘Instead of pseudo intellectual politicians preaching on education perhaps they can move their cronies in the corporate sector to actually hire the legions of graduates from our already existent and successful community college system instead of outsourcing jobs to maximize profits.’ – Charles S., Charlotte, NC

‘My knowledge of Shakespeare, U.S. and World History, Philosophy, German, Spanish, Health, Geology, Art, Sociology, Computer Science, Economics, Psychology and yes even the detestable math classes I was forced to take to complete my liberal arts education all make me the twice nationally certified teacher of the year that I am.’ – Kirsten V., Chapel Hill, NC

‘Could it be possible for McCrory to consider his own life without the arts before he tries to take a similar experience away from thousands of children and adolescents?’ –  Jamie G., Clemmons, NC

‘I am a former member of the faculty and administrator in the NC Community College system. Liberal education DOES prepare students for jobs, Governor!’ – Patricia S., Lexington, NC

‘Liberal arts develops critical thinking skills – sorely needed in our political system.’ –  Marty Monroe, Tallahassee, FL

Copies of the petition will be delivered to Governor McCrory, UNC System President Thomas Ross as well as the North Carolina State House and North Carolina State Senate.


  1. david esmay

    February 1, 2013 at 12:04 pm

    “Them smart people done took over edication. What we need is people just smart enough to run the machines, but too damn dumb to question the system.” Deputy Assistant Governor Pat McCrory

  2. Jamie Huntington-Meath

    February 1, 2013 at 12:10 pm

    Unfortunately, Governor, your limited ability to think clearly is reflected in your narrow approach to educational policy. This petition should serve as a reminder that you dismiss the liberal arts at your own peril. The Republican agenda is so intent on dismantling the social safety net that it fails to appreciate the benefits of training people in a variety of critical thinking disciplines. Somehow, the fact that you don’t appreciate your own undergraduate education is indicative of your foolish stance.

  3. Jack

    February 1, 2013 at 2:35 pm

    The leap from intelligent design to condemning educators didn’t take long. Republicans might as well say that science isn’t a valid career unless it teaches that god made the world and man and dinosaurs roamed the earth at the same time.

    The Guv’s statement is a clear message to NC that republicans want to promote an educational system that promotes ignorance and pumps out drones rather than critical thinkers. The republicans fear a knowledgeable and thinking constituent. Such a person threatens their sense of authority and power that we the people give them with our vote.

    Up till now North Carolina has regressed to only the 19th Century but with this statement it’s clear that McCory will lead the NCGA in an effort to return North Carolina to the dark ages. The Renaissance never happened and the Age of Enlightenment is snuffed out. The legacy of eugenics is alive and well as the NCGA moves forward to implement an age of social engineering for the improvement of the citizen in IT’S serving the state. Once implemented, citizens will better know who to look down on because the lines will be drawn and the division will be clear.

    The state will decide what is best in education, not the people. The state will decide for you that which is an appropriate career path. The state will decide for you what is best for you. The state will always promote choice but only from the list of choices approved by the state.

    A new age is dawning and we are here to witness it.

  4. IlinaP

    February 1, 2013 at 4:43 pm

    I just wrote about this and am collecting comments to send to the governor’s office. Please weigh in! Thanks for all you do. http://www.dirtandnoise.com/2013/01/i-have-a-liberal-arts-degree.html

  5. James Protzman

    February 2, 2013 at 11:35 am

    @ Jack

    You nailed it, sir.

  6. James Thompson

    February 4, 2013 at 1:53 am

    Recently installed Gov.Pat “Pay to Play” McCory will prove to be North Carolina’s answer to Camden New Jersey’s Political Boss George E. Norcross 3rd.. McCory was installed by his friends at Duke Energy and Businessman Art Pope, so their agenda becomes McCory’s agenda. Part of this agenda involves changing education to conform to their extreme right-wing backward views. They believe the State will determine best as to what a citizen needs to know to work menial low paying job They do not want an educated thinking citizenry able to question. Their philosophy; do what your told, believe what your told, think what your told. What did the voter’s of North Carolina expect? We get to enjoy four years of this and I agree totally with the other comments which I find accurate and insightful.

  7. Thomas Clemmons

    February 4, 2013 at 9:46 am

    The liberal arts should/must be continued in our public schools and colleges. When students do not have these classes, exposed to thoughts other than how they were raised, they have very little if any understanding of the larger picture. I think the term “liberal arts” is a misnomer that has the right’s panties in a knot. “Liberal arts” does not mean “liberal politic
    Merriam-Webster:liberal arts
    noun plural
    Definition of LIBERAL ARTS
    : the medieval studies comprising the trivium and quadrivium
    : college or university studies (as language, philosophy, literature, abstract science) intended to provide chiefly general knowledge and to develop general intellectual capacities (as reason and judgment) as opposed to professional or vocational skills

    Academic subjects such as literature, philosophy, mathematics, and the sciences as distinct from professional and technical subjects.

    Why would we want to discontinue or reduce these studies? We need an educated polulace to have a sound democracy and work force.
    Thomas Clemmons

  8. […] “educational elite,” and that too many college courses did not help students get jobs, according to the Progressive Pulse. After Bennett mentioned the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s gender studies […]

  9. Alice W. Greene

    February 11, 2013 at 4:55 pm

    We need to keep the liberal arts classes in our schools & community colleges. It seems to me and other North Carolina friends, relatives, etc. that I have talked to think that Governor McCory are taking our state “backwards” instead of “forward” with his policies. Heaven help the people of North Carolina!

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