O.K., neither Gerald Ford nor Dennis Daugaard actually said "Drop dead." But South Dakota's Governor may as well have said that to future philosophers and other aspiring devotées of the humanities at Girls' State yesterday at USD:
“I’m not saying you shouldn’t follow your dreams,” he said. “If you’ve got your heart set on being a philosopher and you’re going to get a degree in philosophy, God bless you. Have at it. But know that at the end of that ... four-year road, it’s very difficult to get a job.”
While there are many good degrees, there are many others “that lead to virtually no opportunities,” he said [Travis Gulbrandson, "Daugaard to Girls Staters: Get Technical," Yankton Press & Dakotan, 2014.06.06].
Yes, because studying philosophy, literature, dance, or history offers no opportunity for reflection, appreciation of beauty, inspiration, hope, or commitment to something greater than filling one's belly.
What should the best and brightest young women in South Dakota do?
Rather than get just any degree, Daugaard suggested the girls seek a degree in one of the technical fields.
“In South Dakota particularly, the demands that we’re seeing are in the sciences, engineering, information technology, accounting, the health fields and in the skilled trades, machining, welding, construction trades, manufacturing trades,” he said.
There are both two-year and four-year degrees in these fields that yield “spectacular job opportunities,” the governor said [Gulbrandson, 2014.06.06].
Evidently the SDGOP is so hell-bent on driving liberals out of South Dakota that it doesn't even want the liberal arts around.
Governor Daugaard urged the Girls' Staters to check out the state's SDMyLife website, which includes a "Reality Check" income/salary calculator that tells students what jobs they could afford to do based on their anticipated expenses. I punched in moderate expenses for a single person in Sioux Falls, and the Department of Labor recommended lots of jobs: mechanical engineer, commercial pilot, database administrator, sales manager, public relations specialist, loan officer....
But you know which job the Department of Labor did not include in its recommendations for a single person living comfortably but not prodigally? K-12 teacher. And that's even before factoring in the $1,181 per month they say a worker will need to pay for adding just one child to the household.
So there you have it, teachers, historians, poets, thinkers, straight from Governor Daugaard and his website: there are no opportunities for you in South Dakota. Try to make a living here, and you'll probably drop dead.