Believe it or not, The Rooster heads to preschool in the fall. While we’re still a few years away from him heading to Kindergarten, the need for us to think about his schooling is ramping up. The other day we were going past Valley Middle School which now has a huge banner hanging out front that it is a STEM school. The Wife asked which schools are STEM in the district, something I didn’t know at the time. But while there is much focus on the curriculum of STEM schools driving our nation forward and there are plenty of people on this site who believe in it, I see absolutely no value in having kids younger than high school learning from a curriculum focused on STEM. While The Wife didn’t go quite that far, she did note that she probably would have been miserable in school if the focus of all of her classes were STEM related as she would have been unable to escape a subject matter she hated.
Don’t get me wrong, I completely understand the need for a skilled workforce and the importance of science and math in our education system. However, a recent MinnPost article on the topic gives several examples of why STEM is important to our nation provides almost laughable reasoning:
According to the National Science Foundation, there are now 2 million unfilled STEM positions at a time when unemployment hovers around 8 percent. These types of future jobs will more and more require an understanding of STEM.
Consider video gaming. Today video games form the basis for a $25 billion industry, which employs more than 80,000 people. And yet, 25 years ago, it did not exist as an industry. To be in this industry requires an understanding of technological design and a strong foundation in mathematics.
Today we face a national-security threat, not only from terrorists and growing Third World economies, but also from weather extremes. The Department of Defense and the CIA have released reports on the economic and political costs of disrupted weather and climate patterns. Insurance companies are concerned about more powerful and frequent storms that could cause billions of dollars of damage. Energy companies are using advanced technologies to search for and create additional sources of energy.
This seems to tell me that because video games are popular and the misguided direction of the US Government to sink money into ghost enemies, I should take my soon to be Kindergartener and place him in a school which concentrates more on science and math curricula than a more liberal arts education? This liberal arts education of mine has done me just fine (even through grad school), especially considering I work in a field which would be considered STEM anyway.
So parents of STEM students and maybe even others, explain to me why you chose to send your kids to a STEM school before they were old enough to decide whether they actually wanted to have concentrations in science and math? Did you do it because the learning and teachers were better quality over other schools in the district or did you do it for the curriculum of the school? Do you think you’re limiting your child’s choices by pigeonholing them into STEM? Are you concerned they may not be enjoying it as much as a more liberal arts education? Whatever you have to say about this one go ahead and comment on as I’d love to hear your thoughts.