“Art and art only can cause violence to be set aside.” –Leo Tolstoy
For anyone with a child in the school system within the last 15 years, you know what STEM stands for: Science, Technology, Engineering, Math.
Experts (MANY experts) tell us that’s what all our children must be trained in, in order to move the country forward, in order to get jobs, in order to be successful.
Do you agree?
As for me, I have mixed feelings. No doubt, STEM provides key strengths for our kids to make a living in the future. No doubt, we all need these skills to build infrastructure, cure diseases, and solve problems. No doubt.
Where, then, in society, do we learn more subtle skills? Things like anger management, empathy, caring for one another, caring for the planet and the rest of the world around us? Or even less subtle skills like critical thinking, decision-making, morality, justice and local and global citizenship?
In the last election, only 12% of 18-30 year-olds even bothered to vote. I wonder what percentage of them own a smart phone. My guess is somewhat more than 12%.
“Art and art only can cause violence to be set aside.”
Tolstoy had a wide vision of art: literature, paintings, music, poetry, drama. Soft skills to say the least. Don’t get me wrong. I love doctors, scientists and engineers…(I’m married to one). But STEM is only useful when it is accompanied and partnered with creative thinking, creative expression, beauty, appreciation, and acceptance of our common humanity.