We had an interesting conversation at our dinner table last night. My son said that, now that he’s at high school, he enjoys his science class most. He finds the other classes boring and, to his mind, pointless. Having watched a documentary recording what goes on in UC Berkeley’s liberal arts classrooms (a combination of Leftism and navel-gazing stupidity), even Mr. Bookworm conceded that my son was on to something and that going to college today for a liberal arts degree is probably a waste of money.
My son then asked a very thoughtful question: “If all these English classes don’t teach you anything useful, and science and math classes are useful, why is that our high school graduation requirement is for only two years of science but for four years of English?”
Because I didn’t want to start a fight in the house, I told my son that his was a good question, but didn’t offer an answer. If I had offered an answer, I would have said that it’s because liberal arts classes are the vehicles for Leftist indoctrination. Math, with its nasty little absolutes (e.g., 1+1 always equals 2), is not a welcoming environment for propaganda. And if too many kids start studying science seriously, a substantial percentage of them might begin to understand that global warming, with its unfalsifiable closed universe, is a hoax. English classes, however, are the perfect vehicle for teaching kids all the usual Leftist tropes: class warfare; white imperialism, racism, and brutality; misogynistic male chauvinism, hostility to capitalism, and extreme gay sex.
Leftism and STEM cannot exist in the same universe, because true logical thinking must invariably reject hard-core Leftism. The answer, therefore, is to trumpet a commitment to STEM classes, all the while making sure that Leftist literature and literary analysis remains the largest constant in any American child’s education.
Mitch Pearlstein, a former presidential speechwriter was therefore onto something when he took objection to Obama’s remarks about education (emphasis mine):
Then there is the matter of industrial innovation. The United States will continue innovating with the best of them, but we might not remain the very best of them as long as American students continue trailing large swaths of the world in math and science. A nation’s capacity for innovation is tied directly to the math and science knowledge of its workers, meaning the best such equipped workers increasingly are showing up in other countries. The president said pleasing things about high-school graduation rates. It would have been ultimately helpful, if painful, if he also had pointed to the fact that our students are losing ground vis à vis their foreign competitors. (Then, again, do I really want the federal government even more deeply involved in public schools? Forget the whole thing.)
Obama talks the talk, but he has no intention — ever — of walking the walk when it comes to actually elevating STEM subjects to the most important part of any high school curriculum. Note, please, that I say “most important part,” not the “only part.” I am not advocating doing away with liberal arts, although if I had my way, the kids would get intensive training in actual writing skills, and they would read Western classics that speak about big issues common to all people, rather than books aimed at undermining the enlightened Judeo-Christian western thinking.