Push For STEM

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Science, technology, engineering and mathematics… are they taking over? Are they finally getting the attention they deserve? Recently in schools, there has been a push for students to engage in more STEM related classes and go into STEM careers. As time goes on, we are constantly advancing in our modern technology. The focus on STEM has proven to be a key factor in increasing the number of STEM related degrees; however, there has been controversy over whether or not that this increase in STEM driven individuals has consequently led to the decrease in Humanitarian studies, trade jobs and other necessary jobs. (If you wish to look further into these statistics, you can read more about that here: https://www.economicmodeling.com/2017/09/01/stem-majors-accelerating-every-state-just-humanities-degrees-declining/

The school’s shift in course set up and design has greatly impacted a lot of the youth and young adult population today. When asked about their thoughts towards how schools schedule courses, one of our History teachers – Mr.Burker, replied that “we(schools) don’t value a liberal education”. There should be more introduction to humanitarian courses. There is more out there for people to get introduced and involved with. However he also stated, “I don’t think there’s anything wrong with STEM but the efforts being put into STEM should equally be put into humanitarian studies.” It is not a battle of what is better, but simply that the focus shouldn’t be one sided or forceful, but rather equal and left for kids to have the options and for those options to be advertised equally.

There is a good deal of controversy over whether STEM based learning is detrimental has been a hot topic for years. There is fear that with the majority of people going into science careers, and mathematics and engineering, that students are not being exposed to their other options. A foreign language teacher here at Carthage, Mrs.Hall, stated that she was “concerned about trades jobs.” With more people becoming electrical engineers, who will be a plumber or become our carpenters? She had also expressed that “[she] could see both sides” and that “we need to be prepared for more tech”. The world is constantly changing and our science and technology abilities are improving every day, so without a doubt, people will need to know how to operate and work with the new technology to further advance what we already have.

The battle between Fine Arts and STEM courses is a timeless feud. When asked about the push for STEM classes over Fine Arts or other electives, our physics teacher, Mr.Walsemann had brought up good points that many times it is simply a time-related issue. There is not enough time in everyday for all students to take everything, and that the “pursuit of disciplines would be by design according to the student interest and aptitude.” Mr.Walsemann has also stated that he sees STEM and natural sciences not as exclusive but as “complementary.” It has also been pointed out that a lot of focus has been on how it is that STEM has affected other realms of education like the Fine Arts and humanity studies but it has not focused on how those other foci have affected the STEM programs and enrollment. As brought up by Mr. Walsemann, it is important to look upon, “how the marketing of other disciplines [like Fine Arts and other studies] may affect STEM enrollment.” It’s true that no person can be in two places at once and no one can simply do everything. It’s a very valid point that a lot of attention has been directed towards the influence of the rise in STEM with little consideration about how other fields affect STEM too.

The dissension between STEM and non-STEM related pushes in schools has been a controversial topic among many. Is our goal rightfully focused but wrongly advertised? Is there equal focus and effort out into both sides? Should schools cut back, keep pushing, or refocus?