STEM, STEAM & Cracks in the System

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If you’ve had a kid in school during the last 20 years, or you’re involved with education, you’re likely familiar with the acronym STEM—Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.

The concept of STEM teaching is basically a philosophy of integrating the teaching of these subjects in a way that attempts to mimic real life. For example, if the topic is building a bridge, the goal would be to apply these four subjects as they relate to building said bridge. The hope is that students will become more engaged, as opposed to thinking “why do I have to learn this stuff if I’ll never use it in real life?”

Some schools offer STEAM. The A is for art. One of many topics I didn’t do so well at.

I excelled at very little in school with the exception of Unfulfilled Potential. Multiple comments on my report cards reflect this. I was also pretty good at Class Disruption. Since UPCD doesn’t really roll off the tongue, the powers that be eventually decided to call it ADHD, but I was well into adulthood by then, still unfulfilling my potential and disrupting workplace after workplace.

Back in the day, my industrial arts teacher had a proven method of curbing such behavior, but since shop class no longer exists, wood-clamp earrings would probably be deemed inappropriate these days.

Having suffered through three kids navigating the public school system, with varying degrees of success, I have strong opinions on the subject.

While STEM seems like a great idea, I don’t see it helping all that much with problems like classes that are too large, administrators focusing more on grades than individuals, teachers who are underpaid and burned out, kids not getting proper nutrition or guidance, and an increasingly one-size-fits-all mentality that’s really just not working. Too many kids are falling through the cracks.

I’m not sure a nifty acronym is the place to start, but if it was, how about ENTIAK? Education Needs to Include All Kids.


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Chris Prickett
Former contractor, former home inspector and funny guy, Chris Prickett is owner and designated broker of Prickett Realty. A New Jersey native, Prickett has been a top-producing REALTOR® in North Phoenix over the past decade. He has been a columnist since 2005. Over the Prickett Fence is published weekly by In&Out Publications.
Chris Prickett on Email

Chris Prickett

Former contractor, former home inspector and funny guy, Chris Prickett is owner and designated broker of Prickett Realty. A New Jersey native, Prickett has been a top-producing REALTOR® in North Phoenix over the past decade. He has been a columnist since 2005. Over the Prickett Fence is published weekly by In&Out Publications.

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