Over at the Acton Institute, Winston Brady published a piece titled “What would John Dewey do about automation?” Brady is a curriculum adviser and humanities instructor at Thales Academy in Apex, N.C.
Worth a read, the article highlights a potential concern about the loss of jobs to automation and what that means for STEM-based education, which often finds pleas for more funding by public education administrators and politicians. STEM-based education consists of more emphasis on curriculums directly related to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Automation may threaten many of those career fields in the future, especially in this country. While America undoubtedly needs more emphasis in these fields, Brady argues a narrow educational focus will not suffice. He makes the case for a more holistic educational approach that builds up the whole person and emphasizes a broad knowledge, including the transcendent.
Sounds like a good argument for more choice and options in education too. Below is an excerpt from Brady’s piece:
If students are to thrive in an automated, post-industrial society, they’ll certainly need an education that cultivates the whole person. STEM-dominated education may prepare students for a career in computer programming, but it may not be long before a robot takes that job, too. Students do not need an education that treats human beings as basically animals, nor do they need a curriculum that looks with suspicion on the preserved wisdom of the Western canon. Instead, students need a liberal arts education that joins the humanities to the sciences and encourages the critical thinking skills and creativity students need to flourish in society and hold a job no robot could take. Only by educating the whole person does a school prepare that individual to take on the whole world.