Has STEM Become The Focus of Education?
I have never been good at math or science.
Born into a family of English-history double majors and copy editors, I can still remember my mother coming home from parent-teacher conferences and relaying how my sixth grade teacher had said, “So…Sarah really is not a science person, is she?”
My inclination towards the humanities only deepens the heartache with which I am faced as creative and language based classes are swapped out for more STEM based courses.
Do not get me wrong; I support science and math classes, just as I support any academic subject in moderation. I am so grateful for all the biology and calculus students in the world because they are doing jobs I do not understand, and, as a society, we would not be able to advance technologically without them.
However, we could not survive without the humanities either, and that is what it is looking like the future of education will consist of if courses within the humanities continue to be put on the backburner by politicians and educators.
According to a New York Times article, entitled “A Rising Call to Promote STEM Education and Cut Liberal Arts Funding,” many Republican governors, like Matt Bevin of Kentucky and Patrick McCrory of North Carolina, are trying to limit funding at public colleges and universities for humanities majors, while encourage science and technology based majors.
“There will be more incentives to electrical engineers than French literature majors, there just will,” Bevin said.
Even at WHS there are many more science courses and electives than there are English courses, making it difficult for students interested in creative writing or literature to further their studies.
“Why America’s obsession with STEM education is dangerous,” from The Washington Post, counters that “No matter how strong your math and science skills are, you still need to know how to learn, think and even write.”
Science and math and the humanities must coexist equally to most benefit the world, as late Apple CEO Steve Jobs illustrated when he said, “it’s technology married with liberal arts, married with the humanities, that yields us the result that makes our hearts sing.”
Also, while putting math and science on a pedestal makes the students gifted in those areas feel great, it causes students interested in subjects like English, social studies and foreign language to feel unvalued.
In the end, I am just hopeful that all students and humans, regardless of subject area strengths, are valued for their academic individuality, because the world needs people who think systematically, creatively, mathematically and freely.