I share the same concerns as Ron Briley. He is rightly troubled by the side lining of history in favor of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) courses. He notes, “This view of higher education as simply providing the basis for job placement within a technological society may be understandable in light of the student loan debt burden, but it is shortsighted and fails to address the larger goals of a college education.”
A knowledge of history in all its complexities remains vital to the health of our democracy. History is more than names and dates. It helps us make sense of the world around us. It teaches us humility as we struggle to understand the complexities of human nature and the world. It shakes us from our simplistic worldview so that we can better address the problems of the world. It offers lessons and warnings if we are willing to learn from it. It forces us to see the world from different perspectives. And, of course, it offers us great stories. We should resist the transformation of education into a job training program. We are human beings not worker bots!
Read the entire article here: History News Network | I’ve Taught History for 40 Years. I’m Alarmed.
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.”
Read the entire article here:
The Frenzy About High-Tech Talent by Andrew Hacker | The New York Review of Books.