In reviewing several books on the STEM craze, Andrew Hacker questions the underlying assumptions driving this fad. Such an evaluation is long overdue. I’m a fan of STEM, but I’ve been concerned for a long time about the adverse effects of putting these fields on a pedestal to the detriment of other areas of study. There are many reasons to question the STEM fad, but one of the most immediate concerns is the assumption that there will be jobs for students that go into those fields. Based on several studies, Hacker argues that there is little evidence to support this assumption.
Hacker concludes that “[t]he fervor over STEM goes beyond promoting a quartet of academic subjects. Rather, it’s about the kind of nation and people we are to be. Already in play are efforts to instill the metrics—and morality—of technology within ourselves as individuals and into the texture of society. Artists and poets may have to score high on tests of trinomial distributions if they want bachelors’ degrees. In viewing science, technology, engineering, and mathematics as strategic weapons, we are constricting honored callings and narrowing national priorities, while the alleged needs for STEM workers are open to serious question, including whether the demand for them may be exaggerated and manipulated.”
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