STEM is eating education.

In case you hadn’t heard, STEM is Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. It’s the latest trendy way to make sure we produce perfect little worker bees for American corporations.

Because, after all, that’s what school is for, right? Feeding the corporations new flesh to toil for them?

Well, no.

Remember when your favorite part of the day was art, or music, or even recess? When you could let loose and be creative? Today’s educators are being directed not to encourage kids to be creative, but to be cogs in the machine.

I have news for you: scientists, technologists, engineers, and mathematicians are creative people. They didn’t learn to love their specialized fields of study because some school administrator, or even worse, some politician, told them they had to study at least one hour of STEM per week. They discovered their vocations because they realized there are problems to be solved in the world. Scientific problems, technical problems, engineering problems, and mathematical problems. Or artistic problems.

My daughter’s school has a STEM Lab. Once a week they go outside and pretend to learn about science. It’s funny, because I thought science was supposed to part of the core curriculum, but now they have a separate, privately funded class to teach them science lessons that are not applied to real life problems.

Her new art teacher is telling the students exactly what to do to create works of “art”, step by step. Well, that’s not how art works, sister. Give the kids a problem to solve and I promise you they will come up with the most creative solutions you’ve ever seen, and some of them will find a spark that pushes them towards science, technology, engineering, or math, or even art because of it.

Instead of teaching six- and seven-year olds to be engineers, you should be finding ways to harness their creativity in exciting ways. Through art, music, dance, physical education—the very programs that are being cut in my state.

If they weren’t going to be engineers before you shoved STEM into their heads, they’re even less likely to be engineers afterward.

Addendum (January 21, 2015)

Today I got an email from the school touting their “STEM Career Fair.”

An example some of the career clusters are listed below:
- Law, Public Safety, and Security
- Education and Training
- Hospitality and Tourism
- Health Science
- Energy
- Government and Public Administration, etc.

See what I mean? How is this not just a plain old-fashioned career fair? STEM is also eating career fairs.

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