Do we have a STEM bias and is it killing the arts?
Is there a STEM bias in our schools? Some people on social media think so. I watch social media closely and it's my job to share some of the hot topics on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and other outlets that teachers, principals, students, and parents are contributing.
Innova Solutions posted an interesting article on Twitter recently about a possible STEM bias. The article, which you can read here, is by a student who took dance as part of her school curriculum and how people reacted to it. Fellow students questioned why she'd take that class, believing “arty” classes were the “easy ones” for “stupid girls.” But this unnamed 16-year old stayed strong and claimed it was the best decision she ever made. She argued that she simply wasn't interested in math and sciences, but dance actually got her excited for school.
It's a safe guess to assume this wasn't the only time a student received grief for taking an art class instead of an additional STEM class. Recently, more than one report about the decline of arts and other traditionally creative classes offered in school has been published. The student's article cited one from the BBC that you can read here. If schools really are cutting down on the arts, is it because they keep pushing STEM? If so, why? There is a theory that students with liberal arts degrees have a harder time finding jobs. But will this push lead to an over-saturation of STEM degrees? Students are already required to take math and science classes, so it's not like they're not getting that information. If their interests lie elsewhere, how damaging is it to tell a 16-year old what they are passionate about is worthless or an easy class for stupid people? Is there a lack of students receiving STEM degrees? The answers to these questions lie outside the scope of this article, but I'd love to hear your ideas on this.
Just one last food for thought. If you've ever doubted the importance of the arts, in nearly every dystopian novel, the first step civilization took to their dystopian world was getting rid of the arts and other areas that promote free thinking in favor of pushing strictly sciences and technology. STEM is obviously important and necessary, but it shouldn't come at the expense of other intelligences.
Tori Pakizer is the Social Media Editor at SimpleK12.com. She writes regularly about the use of educational technology in K-12 classrooms, and specializes in how teachers use Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and other social media. You can follow Tori and SimpleK12 on Twitter @SimpleK12. If you have ideas for using social media in schools, please send your information or tip to firstname.lastname@example.org.