To be, or not to be – a teacher?
Florida is changing its state rules to allow philosophy majors – for decades the targets of ruthless jokes about the usefulness of their college degrees – to teach social sciences in public schools.
Philosophy majors have included Supreme Court Justice David Souter and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina.
The change is long overdue, said experts in the field. They describe misconceptions by critics who fail to understand that philosophy majors consider questions more broadly and creatively.
“They imagine people sitting on mountains and uttering cryptic sayings or something,” said Gene Witmer, undergraduate coordinator for philosophy students at the University of Florida.
The change expands the pool of teacher candidates for social science courses, which previously required a degree in social science, social studies, history, political science, geography, sociology, economics or psychology. It also means schools that teach philosophy can now hire