So much for Florida’s STEM push.

I am in kind of a precarious position. You see I believe
in STEM education, I think we should encourage kids to go into those fields, however
unlike hardcore STEM supporters, I think we should encourage kids to learn a
trade or skill and go into the arts as well.

Two stories recently caught my attention that a STEM
education may not be the ticket to prosperity that people like state board of ed member and grocer Gary Chartrand
are selling it to be.

The first comes from Disney Land where they brought in
cheaper foreign workers to replace the more expensive American ones. What jobs did they have? They were technicians and engineers. 

From the New York Times: The employees who kept the data systems humming in the
vast Walt
Disney
 fantasy fief
did not suspect trouble when they were suddenly summoned to meetings with their
boss.

While families rode the Seven Dwarfs
Mine Train and searched for Nemo on clamobiles in the theme parks, these
workers monitored computers in industrial buildings nearby, making sure
millions of Walt
Disney World
ticket sales, store purchases and hotel reservations
went through without a hitch. Some were performing so well that they thought
they had been called in for bonuses.

Instead, about 250 Disney employees were told in late
October
 that they
would be laid off. Many of their jobs were transferred to immigrants on
temporary visas for highly skilled technical workers, who were brought in by an
outsourcing firm based in India. Over the next three months, some Disney
employees were required to train their replacements to do the jobs they had
lost.


Insert scrooge McDuck joke here. It seems what companies are really looking for is to pay its employees less. 

Next from PRI:

Then on Monday I listened to
a story on PRI’s the world which said we are soon to have a glut in stem jobs.
The selection below isn’t from Monday but it echo’s that sentiment
We’re “graduating many more
STEM graduates than there are STEM jobs,” says Hal Salzman, a professor of
public policy at Rutgers who makes it his business to track the success of
young job-seekers.
He says that two to three times
more students get science degrees than actually find science-based jobs. In
engineering and computer science, the picture is rosier, though not great:
two-thirds of grads get jobs in their chosen field.

Oy
vey, and Jacksonville just opened a STEM hub.

Look
I don’t think there is anything wrong with encouraging STEM education I just
think its past time we stopped treating it as the holy grail of education and it’s
to our detriment that we do. The facts seem to back me up as well.

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