Florida to Allow Philosophy Majors to Teach Social Sciences in Public Schools

The Florida Department of Education has proposed amending a rule governing what kinds of degrees people who teach social science classes in the state’s public schools must have.

The rule in question, “Specialization Requirements for Certification in Social Science, Grades 6-12” (6A-4.03321) currently states that social science classes in public schools in Florida must be taught by someone with a degree major of social science, social studies, history, political science, geography, sociology, economics, or psychology. The proposed change would add philosophy to that list.

[Dana Hargrove, “Arcadia ii-viii”]

National Public Radio (NPR) affiliate WUFT reports:

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…

“Frankly, philosophy not being included was a historical oversight,” Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran said in an email…

Social sciences [in Florida public schools] typically include courses in psychology, sociology, political science, philosophy, or economics. Such courses are not offered in every Florida [school]. 

The proposal is expected to be enacted later this month. It is currently up for public comment; there will be an official hearing on it next Wednesday.

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