|Photo by Tom Murray, under modified CC license. at BugGuide.Net|
Suppose for the moment that college and career-readiness should be the goal of public schools, that we should create a caste of worker-bees for the greater profit. Suppose that we truly wanted to make a creative class of citizens, ready to design nuclear warheads and cure cancer. What if?
Here's the very, very sad part. The push for STEM (science/technology/engineering/mathematics) is exactly the wrong way to go.
Arne's Army is right about a few things--the first world human world will be vastly different in just a generation, in ways we cannot predict. We will need to solve problems beyond how to build a better corkscrew.
Half of STEM is static, and useless for this--technology and engineering do allow for a better acronym, but they won't produce better thinkers.
If the point of requiring technology and engineering is to enhance a child's ability to solve problems, let's call it problem-solving. Let's trade the "TE" in STEM for a "P." While engineering abounds with problem-solving, I can do it a lot cheaper with matchstick problems.
At any rate, solving problems just for its own sake, as fun as it might be (and I grew up feeding on Martin Gardner's endless questions), does not justify spending the billions of dollars a year we spend on public education.
Problem-solving without cultural context is like masturbating--as much fun as it might be, in the end, not a whole lot is accomplished. Which is why we need arts.
That we even need to question the purpose of the arts in our humanity shows how far back with slithered to our reptilian roots. (Am I the only one who thinks I see the eyes of Voldemort's snake Nagini when looking at headshots of the ultra-wealthy?)
|Not Nagini, from TED|
The other nice thing about "arts" is that it starts with an "a," a convenient letter for any acronym.
So we drop a T and an E from STEM, and add an A, what do we get?
MAPS are what we once used to help us get less lost.
Today, more than ever, we need to get less lost.
I prefer SPAM, but folks think I'm daffy as it is.