New Jersey Schools Enforcing majors on High School Freshmen. "This fall, freshmen at Dwight Morrow High School in Bergen County must declare a major that will determine what electives they take for four years and be noted on their diplomas..." This isn't just one rogue school, either. "Starting this month, Florida districts will require every ninth grader to major in one of more than 400 state-approved subjects, ranging from world cultures to fashion design to family and consumer sciences. South Carolina enacted a similar law last year, designating 16 career clusters, including architecture, government and agriculture. In Mississippi, a $5 million pilot program in 14 districts this fall will have ninth graders following one of seven career paths, like construction and manufacturing or science, technology, engineering and math."
I started high school in September of 1983 at 14 years old. I was a psychological mess, suicidal, and was told I'd be best suited as an architect because I was good at math and "a loner" (really, I took some "Job O" test that said that in 8th grade). If someone asked me what my major was going to be, I would have said, "I dunno..." I went from wanting to be a paleontologist to a vet to cryptozoologist up until they said I would be a terrible vet because I'd have to work with people. When I graduated, I was sure I was going to be an astrophysicist. I even took college courses and AP credits so I could skip all the "101 courses" in college and go straight into my major, hitting the ground running so to speak. And we all see what happened to that idea.
I have known people in their second year of college who had no idea what they wanted to be. I just spoke with someone who graduated in a major they hated because "I might as well finish it." She's not doing her major, either. So how the hell to they expect a bunch of 13-14 year olds do say what they want to do?
The irony to this post is my son wanted to be a vet since he was 10. He's taking a vocational track at his school to be a vet tech, and we're looking at getting into Virginia Tech, one of the best Vet schools on the East Coast. And yet... if he turned out not to be a vet, it wouldn't surprise me at all. I know a lot of people who went to college "knowing" they were going to have a major is Subject A, graduates with a major in Subject B, and then ends up doing a job unrelated to either one. Most of the systems administrators I have worked with did not have a computer science major, if any at all.
Man, when can kids be kids these days? What happened to natural learning through play? This reminds me of medieval apprenticeships more than anything else.