Is STEM obsession dangerous??

Zakaria_headshotFareed Zakaria has written an extremely articulate column in the Washington Post explaining why America’s fixation on STEM – science, technology, engineering and math – is a dangerous path.  I say this as someone who has spent four years devising a curriculum to teach elementary children how to solve complex word problems.  I have deep appreciation for children learning how to think logically and solve problems. Of course, I love the wonders of technology that engineers have devised for our pleasure and profit.  And knowing math is important, but… it is NOT the be all and end all. To have a policy that lowers the value of other kinds of minds and forces everyone to pole vault over the high hurdles of calculus or Trig…is cruel and misguided. Zakraia explains why “…dismissal of broad-based learning…comes from a misreading of the facts – and puts America on a dangerously narrow path for the future.”

I recommend reading his entire column but a few quotes tell the tale….

He quotes Steve Jobs: “it’s in Apple’s DNA that technology alone is not enough – that it’s technology married with liberal arts, married with the humanities, that yields us the result that makes our hearts sing.”

“America will not dominate the 21st century by making cheaper computer chips but instead by constantly reimagining how computers and other new technologies interact with human beings.”

 “But technological chops are just one ingredient needed for innovation and economic success. America overcomes its disadvantages – a less technically-trained workforce – with other advantages such as creativity, critical thinking and an optimistic outlook.”

 “…educational systems …oriented around memorization and test-taking…are not conducive to thinking, problem solving or creativity.”

 “…China’s educational system…does not nourish a student’s complete intelligence, allowing her to range freely, experiment and enjoy herself whlie learning.”

 “This doesn’t in any way detract from the need for training in technology, but….the most valuable skills will be the ones that are uniquely human… you could not do better than to follow your passion, engage with a breadth of material in both the sciences and humanities, and perhaps above all, study the human condition.”

Read the entire article STEM_Dangerous:

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