« Civility isn’t the answer: Jennifer Mercieca on the state of political discourse | Main | Folding it up is not the problem: Meredith Broussard on why paper maps still matter »

01/18/2019

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Clint

In the article "Math and Science Can't Take Priority Over History and Civics", Natalie Wexler is addressing an observation about the current U.S. education culture. It is true that there is a greater emphasis today put on STEM majors than in previous generations. With majors like queer musicology, gender studies, and parapsychology, of course the government is urging its students to study something a bit more practical. However, Natalie is arguing that we should stop investing so much in these and put a greater focus on history and civics. I disagree, and I'm not even a STEM major.

While I do believe these subjects cannot be replaced, to say that we shouldn't encourage more rigorous study of science, technology, engineering, and math is ludicrous. Students should be able to study what they want. We are, for most of us, paying for it in one way, shape, or form. It is no secret that those with a more specific set of skills developed by studying these subjects in higher education have a higher earning potential. If higher earning potential is what is valued by a society, and it certainly is by our's, then that is what should emphasized.

Wexler goes on to say, "We know that only a minority of students will end up working in STEM fields. But virtually all will be expected to exercise their rights and responsibilities as citizens of a democracy. And if they don’t have the background knowledge and vocabulary necessary to understand a newspaper article or even a news report on TV, we’re all in trouble." This is a clear example of a straw man argument. No one said we shouldn't teach students democratic knowledge or vocabulary. There are required subjects throughout grade school that teach us this stuff.

If a student excels in other subjects, they should have every right to study that instead of something in the STEM field. There are occupational needs for many areas of study. It is silly, though, to claim that students don't need as much education in the STEM subjects. We should champion a well rounded education and emphasize pushing your limits, no matter the academic pursuit.

gift

This article is very interesting for reader in view of children need and want who related their parents how to provide the some supporting to them

Alex

While I agree with Wexler that courses like civics, history, and English are very important to developing skills that are useful not only in the workforce but in our personal, social, and political lives. However, the STEM field is one of the fastest growing industries in the United States today. Just look at the Bureau of Labor Statistics list of Fastest Growing Occupations and you'll see that nearly all jobs on the list are directly or closely related to the STEM field. This is why such an emphasis has been placed on STEM education in schools. There really is a demand for workers with skills relating to STEM programs.

Not only is there a demand, but almost all other fields of study benefit from the STEM field and having skills relating to it. Just look around and pick out any object not found in nature. Someone had to get the materials, design the product, have people or machines that can put it together, and come up with ways through science and technology to make the process more efficient.

This is why STEM fields are being pushed more and more in schools. Everyone benefits from it no matter what occupation you choose to pursue. All the things that make our lives easier and better have some tie to STEM programs and that leads to more innovation, the main focus of STEM.

Riley

Wexler begs the question of the importance of S.T.E.M programs, how they will affect the United States as a democracy, and how it will truly assist students in their life past education. She notes that she herself had a lack of development in areas such as chemistry, physics, and calculus, yet didn't feel the need to have them, or that she was at a deficiency without them. Instead, Wexler credits her understanding of geography, government, and history to assisting her throughout her life. Whilst subjects such as history and social studies are important to the improvement of students as citizens, it is foolish to doubt the importance and significance of S.T.E.M programs. With the ever improving and expanding world, the need for workers in S.T.E.M related fields will only increase exponentially.

Suhas

This article by Wexler examines how STEM education impacts American students from a theoretical and a more realistic perspective. I found it interesting how Wexler's opinion was a refreshed perspective on the prominent push for STEM education. As she provides a personal experience, Wexler states how her lack of exposure to subjects like chemistry and calculus did not hinder her ability to live out a fruitful life and be an informed citizen. Instead, she suggests that schools should be focussing on more practical courses like civics and government in order to create an ideal democracy that would contribute to a more informed future generation of thinkers. While I see where Wexler is coming from, as a student who enjoys math and science courses, I find it very hard to imagine a school system that does not prioritize these subjects. Frankly, it is a bit hasty to assume that math and science-based classes won't benefit people's futures. There are many jobs that require extensive knowledge in these areas and I believe Wexler's views are bordering a very narrow view that is highly motivated by personal interests. Our technology-based world is changing so rapidly that the need for STEM workers will be at high demand. Focussing on literature-based classes quite frankly might hinder our advancement, but this is not to say that being familiar with our government is not necessary.

Patrick

Wexler's examination of the suddenly urgent agenda that seeks to expose traditional education to a more STEM focused ideology succeeds flawlessly in providing the relevancy of the issue to the reader. I do, however, have to disagree with the idea that focusing mainly on subjects related to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics is somehow detrimental to the overall education of students. STEM careers are truly the future in my opinion, and in the best interest of students, should definitely be pushed heavily in regards to tradition education. As opposed to history, civics, and/or arts oriented classes, STEM careers have real world application that is immediately evident. I must respect Wexler's in her views as they are not completely unfounded, but I also believe that they are somewhat founded on an unwillingness to perceive the future in a way in which sciences are connected to everything inevitably. These types of views can be dangerous to the true progression of society, especially since STEM careers share a clear link to major global issues such as disease, pollution, hunger, and war.

Henry

Wexler shows us how, despite what politicians and employers claim, while STEM education is important, non-STEM education is just as important. She uses her own experience and statistics to show how an over-emphasis in STEM education can dominate society's academia and cause negative side effects.

Rosa Montiel

I feel there is much to be said for the STEM education. I know its very popular in elementary and moving forward. But the key is not only STEM but a student must know what they are good at and really enjoy and focus on that. Education is key regardless of what direction in the educational direction you take.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Working...
Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.

Working...

Post a comment

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)

About They Say / I Blog

  • New readings posted monthly, on the same issues that are covered in “They Say / I Say” with Readings—and with a space where readers can comment, and join the conversation.

Become a Fan