Schools seem to have lost, or completely abandoned, their mission of teaching students how to explore and succeed in their passions.
Over the last 20 years, with the exponential increase in technology, public and private schools are increasingly prioritizing and pushing students into careers in STEM. However this eagerness to push students into the careers of the future has not been equal. 20 or 30 years ago, a career in medicine was it. It was the cream of the crop, the ultimate goal of both ambitious and the stupid. What your parents and teachers wanted for you above all else was a career in medicine. In the United States, the picture of success was hallmarked by the successful doctor next door. While only a small sector of all of the sciences, medicine’s success put a career in STEM on the map before some of its fields were even established.
However, the technological leaps of the 21st century have caused schools to leave the sciences behind in the pursuit of newer and flashier careers. Schools have forgotten the importance of the science part of STEM, even in careers outside of medicine. More often than not, the idea of a degree in biology, chemistry, or physics, all important and respectable disciplines, has been tossed aside, the degrees deemed useless. There has been a push for students to go into the computer sciences or engineering, with more and more schools ingraining it into their curriculum, clubs, and graduation requirements. There are more scholarships for computer science and engineering than ever, and resources for a career in something like chemistry are dismal at best.
One might argue that these degrees are the future, and are going to be the highest paying jobs, and not once will I ever try to refute that, but that is not what the purpose of school is, or should be. Since when have schools been responsible for producing laborers and not great minds? Because of the increasing demand for these careers, there will always be people who want to go into them, and that likely will not be an issue. By school funneling all of their resources and connections into building the laborers of the future instead of great thinkers who will succeed in all of their disciplines, the education system is robbing students of the chance to explore and grow in their own interests.
In fact, whether or not coding will remain valuable in the future is currently being debated by economists. The value of coding is expected to decrease throughout the 2020s due to automation. An AI that can do the coding and debugging of 5 coders makes those coders worth much less. In the next 10 years, a physicist who can apply their knowledge to humanity will be much more valuable than a coder whose job can be done by an AI. Schools, by not offering a proper foundation and opportunities in the sciences, will be robbing students of their chances to succeed in these careers, and robbing the future of the careers it will desperately need.
Avonworth has coding and technology graduation requirements, but after 3 years, taking a science is made optional. There is a TSA (Technology Student Association) club, and it seems like every other week, engineers are brought in to speak to Juniors and Seniors. The same love is not shown in the sciences. There are more coding electives than all of the sciences combined, and I can not remember the last time a pure scientist was brought in to speak. The only science club Avonworth has seen in the last two years, the environmental club, has disbanded. What is the reason for this? Not enough resources? No one encouraging demand? Whatever it is, it must be addressed, and quickly.
I am not claiming that schools should disregard or ignore the fact that technology and engineering are the careers of the future, in fact, quite the contrary. All I am saying is that the sciences should not be overshadowed or made obsolete quite yet. To go anywhere, we must first remember where we came from, and the sciences are not at all on the way out. There will always be a need for the scientists that become doctors, chemists who become pharmacologists, and all of the scientific disciplines and foundations that come before them. Even beyond the humanly applicable careers, humanity will always need to understand the world around it, especially before it can create its own. All of the subsections of science must be treated as important, even the more speculative fields like astrobiology and quantum physics.
Schools must, while still encouraging and grappling with the careers of the future, respect the necessitated role that science will play in the future for as long as humanity is still around. More science clubs, opportunities, and resources, especially outside of medicine, are unnegotiable.