Are We Forgetting About Other Students?

The video “What Most Schools Don’t Teach” was definitely an insightful and interesting video, however there was just something about it that really bothered me.  I understand that things like coding are very important in this “digital age,” but I sometimes find that there can be too much of an emphasis on STEM.  Now, don’t get me wrong, STEM subjects are extremely important for the future of our world, but so are humanities and other non-STEM subjects.  In the video, Chris says “some of my friends have jobs” when talking about people’s reactions to when he was learning to code after school.  Why is the idea of getting a job such a large emphasis on WHY a person should learn certain things?  Shouldn’t they be able to learn something just for the sake of learning it even if it won’t lead to a job?  In her article in The Washington Post called “We’re way too obsessed with pushing science and math on our kids,” Emily Eckart says, “it is commonly claimed that STEM majors are the ‘most valuable’ – value being defined as immediate job offers and high earnings.  Articles promoting STEM have a clear focus: jobs and money.”

umoy7  Left-Brain-vs.-Right-Brain1

It also really bothered me that, in the video, they were showing what it was like to work in environments where people with STEM skills/degrees work.  They showed a very relaxed and causal environment with free food, a chef, free laundry, snacks, places to play ping pong and video games, and people riding around the office on scooters and sitting on lounge chairs.  1) What does that have do do with coding?   2) Why are STEM people given those luxuries?  What makes them more eligible to have a positive working environment?  The answer is nothing.  Some people, such as myself, do not have those left brain skills or interests and we are ridiculed for that.  In his Washington Post opinion article called “Why America’s obsession with STEM education is dangerous,” Fareed Zakaria says, “The United States has let the world in economic dynamism, innovation and entrepreneurship thanks to exactly the kind of teaching we are now told to defenestrate.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/why-stem-wont-make-us-successful/2015/03/26/5f4604f2-d2a5-11e4-ab77-9646eea6a4c7_story.html

https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2014/12/29/were-way-too-obsessed-with-pushing-science-and-math-on-our-kids/

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Are We Forgetting About Other Students?

5 thoughts on “Are We Forgetting About Other Students?

  1. Elena Carrasquillo says:

    I previously wrote a blog on this topic but took a different approach. I believe we should learn to read and write code. Although I agree with your point about how STEM skills and majors are pushed onto students because they make the most money. In reality they do make more money. Payscale.com shows a ranking of which majors are the highest paying jobs and nearly all of them are STEM majors. In this economy and how expensive college is, people like me can not afford to go to school for a major that I will make a low salary. With the amount of loans I have to take out a year for college, I will be in deep debt when I graduate and a STEM major is the best option for me to be able to try to pay off my loans out of college. Do I agree that the humanities are worth learning? Of course because each student should be well rounded but I also believe that i’ll be able to find a job I love when exploring STEM majors. I wish I could say that I could study anything I want in school but I can not because of money and job availability. In a perfect world I would study the humanities because they are interesting but unfortunately it’s just not how this world works. So if, according to Code.org, one million jobs are being left open because not enough people have STEM skills then I say teach yourself some coding and go for STEM majors!

    http://www.payscale.com/college-salary-report/majors-that-pay-you-back/graduate-degrees.

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  2. Meredith Bell says:

    I agree with you to a certain extent, but I also think that if you are shelling out the money/taking out loans to go to college, you should study something you are passionate about or interested in rather than something that has a slight possibly of leading you to make more money in the future. I can’t afford college either and I am in a lot of debt just like most of the students here, but I don’t think wasting my time and money to get a degree in something I’m not good at or interested in is a smart decision. There are so many other fields that have job opportunities, not just STEM and I think that becomes lost in this country’s obsession with STEM. I am 100% a right brain person and am terrible at science and math so just going and trying to teach myself how to code is completely useless to me. And, because of this large emphasis on STEM, a lot of STEM jobs will be filled which will lead to a high demand in jobs for students with degrees in communication, arts, history, english, and other humanities.

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  3. allisonpalmer says:

    I agree with your point 100%. I’ve seen a commercial play on television several times that shows a young girl who is dissuaded into not participanting in a science fair because she hears comments that “STEM isn’t for girls.” Maybe she lost interest in the subject since she was a child because she found something else that she enjoys? STEM isn’t the only pathway to success. People should love what they do. A quote that sticks with me is “A person who loves their job never works a day in their life.” While it is important for technological advances that people are interested in STEM fields, it is also important for the future of our nation that people are interested in arts and literature. I find it ironic that people are so willing to buy a song on iTunes or go see a Broadway show, but will look down on people who chose to pursue those subjects in college. If our country wants to continue to enjoy things like plays and music, people need to be educated in those fields and money should be allotted to those departments.

    I will never forget my sophomore year of high school. As a member of the stage crew at my high school, I will always remember how my school district cut our theater department due to budget cuts. It was heart breaking to hear that something I loved with all my heart was taken away from me. Life that year sucked because I was always worrying about if we could raise enough money to give us our shows (we did). So many people almost lost something they truly cared about because our school did not think it was as important.

    I truly agree with you that while schools should push STEM fields and that STEM is important, arts and humanities are just as important.

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  4. carolinasouza says:

    I acknowledge and understand your point, but I believe the abundance of STEM education goes beyond what you are assuming. I do not believe all other subjects of education will decline due to STEM education. Yes, there is a lot of encouragement for STEM education in this day and age, but it is only because we are currently moving through a technological revolution. There is a high demand for jobs in coding because, although we are gaining momentum in the field, we are still undeveloped. At the dawn of mathematics, astronomy, and all other forms of education, over-analyzing and studying each field was necessary to further develop said field. I agree other subject fields may be less recognized for the time being, but I also believe this will only be temporary. The growth of STEM research is parallel to humankind’s growth, for it is another trait we are simply trying to adapt into our culture as a norm rather than a distracting nuisance. Eventually, coding may become as common as reading and writing, and education in other fields will thrive again.

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  5. themegmurray says:

    Although I agree that the humanities are super important to teach kids (obviously I believe that, I’m an English major) I’m not sure that your point about there being too much emphasis on STEM is entirely correct, at least in my experience. This may be different for other people, but I feel like if I had grown up with more STEM classes or maybe just better teaching in them, then I wouldn’t be as (for lack of a better word) dumb as I am in those subjects. Sometimes I feel like literally all I know about is English because I never really got the chance to learn STEM, and by the time I came to college and did have the chance, it was too late for me to understand any of it.
    However, I do agree with your comments on the luxury of these STEM workers in their jobs and how not all jobs are given those luxuries. As an aspiring author, there’s no work environment that I know of where I can go and do laundry and eat a free meal and play some games all while getting paid. (If there is, let me know). And I do find it is harder to be taken seriously as a student in the humanities since people don’t really take my major seriously. “I’m an English major.” “Oh, what are you gonna be, a teacher?” “No, an author.” “Yeah right, how are you gonna do that?” I’d love to not be asked those questions every day. And I’m sure students in the STEM programs don’t get asked those types of mundane questions.

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