Alfie Kohn asks an excellent question about the education priorities laid out by our national leaders: Â Why do STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) subjects consistently attract so much money and attention?
He has one theory.
As compared with other “softer” disciplines, STEM usually provides us with the reassurance of knowing exactly how much, how many, how far, how fast, which means that these subjects are viewed (often incorrectly) as being inherently objective, therefore more reliable (another questionable leap), and therefore more valuable (yet another one).
Beyond that, I also think much of the love affair with STEM comes from the gut feeling of most people in this country that subjects like math and science are just more serious than social studies or music, like anyone who racks up lots of those credits will automatically get a better job, earn more money, and probably be a better human being.
Either way, there’s a big hypocrisy factor at work here.
Many of the politicians behind the big push for students to take more STEM classes (or at least increased test scores on international tests) are also the ones loudly disparaging the scientists and engineers who produce research and recommendations they disagree with.
Go to college, learn lots of math and science, but don’t use your skills to discover anything that challenges my preconceived ideas.
Great message to offer kids.