Gov. Pat McCrory's comments about getting public universities to focus on majors that provide the best job prospects has me wondering: Will he discourage students from becoming teachers?
N.C. education majors with a bachelor's degree averaged an estimated $36,245 a year, well under the average earnings for grads who got two-year degrees in health or STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields, according to a recent national analysis of the economic benefits of college degrees. If you want young people to get a lot of earning power for their tuition bucks, it looks like you need to warn them off teaching -- or make the profession pay better.
In fact, we'll probably hear more about proposals to change the way universities prepare teachers and to revise the way teachers are paid. But whether there will be more money in the pot remains to be seen.
McCrory's remarks about philosophy majors and gender studies also got me wondering what's the best major if you're aiming for the governor's mansion. Turns out that's hard to say. Here are the academic credentials of North Carolina's last five governors.
McCrory: Education and political science degree from Catawba College, a private, church-affiliated liberal arts school in Salisbury.
Mike Easley: Undergraduate degree in political science from UNC Chapel Hill, law degree from N.C. Central.
Jim Hunt: Bachelor's and master's degrees in agriculture-related fields from N.C. State, law degree from Chapel Hill.
Jim Martin: Bachelor of science from Davidson College, doctorate in chemistry from Princeton.