An earlier article, “Surprising Skills Employers Want,” noted that employers are looking for job candidates with excellent communication and critical thinking skills. This factor was echoed by Berman (2012), who argued that lowering tuition and encouraging higher education students to seek degrees in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) programs was not prudent because liberal arts education is known to concentrate on the two areas of skill needed by employers. Many states are instituting plans to steer high school students into paths directed toward STEM programs. Many of these plans target underrepresented, minority, and women students.
According to STEMconnector, Pennsylvania is on a mission to increase the number of students in college STEM programs. The state hopes to educate all students in STEM-related areas, and to provide teachers who are well-trained in STEM-specific content areas. Pennsylvania is also attempting to garner public support for STEM education.
However, if employers are looking for communication and critical thinking skills, should these skills not be a top educational priority? Another issue that Berman (2012) argued is that other disciplines can offer more money than STEM fields. According to the author, political science jobs tend to pay higher than biology-related work.
Education officials at the post-secondary and the college level must take into consideration the needs of employers and the future of students. Those encouraging STEM programs propose to increase the number of engineers, mathematicians, and scientists in America. Are those in charge of education in this country student-centered or are they more concerned with global competition?
Berman, E. (2012, November 1). More STEM majors won’t solve higher education’s problems.
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