STEM is overrated

Too many schools place too much emphasis on math and science


Marci Townsend

Senior Tanner Washington works on a writing assignment in Steve Wissinger’s College Composition class.

If you are a current student in school, you probably have heard of STEM. 

STEM is a modern form of learning pushing for more education in Science, Technology, Engineering, and mathematics fields. The advocates for this movement argue that with our technologically advancing world, schools should change to be more focused on these subjects and encourage students to take on these interests. 

However, a lot of advocates also make it seem like STEM is the only way to go. In my opinion, STEM is getting increasingly overrated, and leaving liberal arts in the dust. However, there are several reasons why we should still value liberal arts in modern education, such as how everybody is not naturally talented at STEM, liberal arts promotes creativity in society and the fact that the liberal arts will always be necessary in society. 

First off, people have natural gifts. Some people are naturally better at subjects like math and science, while others excel in history and English. However, the push for STEM makes it seem as if the kids who are good at math and science are the only ones that matter. And if you’re not good at math and science, then you need to become good. It’s not that easy for everyone. Instead, educators could push for students to excel in what they like to do, and let them know that their talents are valued just as much as the STEM students. Instead, school makes it constantly seem like the STEM students are the only ones who matter. In middle school, we were constantly introduced to engineering programs and encouraged to join those. At South High, there’s a whole other school for kids who like STEM called South Tech. What about creative writing and art programs? What about a school for students who want to dive more into careers centered around liberal arts? Schools should be promoting all kinds of talents, not just a certain section. It’ll help students be able to express themselves more and feel like themselves and their talents matter. 

Additionally, liberal arts is necessary because it helps promote valuable traits such as creativity and a deeper understanding of the world and diverse cultures around us. Sure, Chemistry can teach you the chemical composition of the universe. Geology can teach you how old the rocks are that you’re standing on. But Sociology can help you watch the news with a broader understanding of how current events are affecting the world. History can teach you how your nation was founded, and the bad deeds of others to not repeat. Art can help you let your inner emotions be expressed in a healthy, peaceful way. Science and math teaches you facts, but liberal arts teaches you how to be at peace with the world. It teaches you valuable lessons you need to be a respectful, open-minded person. If we totally disregard these subjects in school, then the following generations are just going to become robots that only understand computers. We need to encourage students to engage with the world around them and do their best to want to understand it. I know school is against teaching us how to be functioning adults, but they could at least help us be interesting humans. 

As the advocates for STEM say, our world is always changing. The technology we have now is going to change. The students currently learning how to get careers in technology fields will have to deal with whole new systems in probably ten years. However, we’re always going to have to know how to read and write. Technology hasn’t been around forever, but language has. Even the early humans had to have a way to communicate. No matter what career you pursue, you’re going to have to know how to write and read. It doesn’t matter. Those are basic fundamentals of functioning in society. However, you don’t need to know the inner workings of a computer or imaginary numbers to function. Why push for an education that isn’t going to be the same in the very near future? Instead, let’s encourage the basic lessons that students need to progress and get to those engineering and science careers. Without reading and writing, they would have none of those careers. However, STEM advocates don’t pay attention to any of that. They would rather wrap themselves around the notion that science, technology, engineering and math is way more important than the most basic of skills: reading and writing. 

Lastly, many students who are interested in STEM don’t even try to challenge themselves in the liberal arts. I personally know students who take all AP science and math courses, but take regular English. Why do these brilliant students feel the need to gloss over English? Do they think it’s not as important? If you look at a lot of cultures, the push to become a doctor is heavy while becoming a journalist or graphic designer isn’t so widely accepted. Journalists hold together society just as much as doctors do. Journalists help spread the news and keep people aware of what is currently happening. Journalists could even help doctors predict how much of a rush they might get in dangerous events. Additionally, there are several great mathematicians and scientists from history who also dabbled in liberal arts. For example, Albert Einstein, one of the smartest men to ever live, played the violin. Lewis Carrol, the writer of Alice in Wonderland, was also a mathematician. The greats of the past realized the importance of the arts, why can’t the current generations do so as well? 

All in all, schools are probably still going to stress themselves out arguing about how important STEM is, but to the readers of this article, please consider how important a liberal arts education is. Not every kid is good at math and science; liberal arts can help you understand the rest of the world, and everybody needs to know how to read and write.