An elementary school’s core curriculum covers basic math, English and science. However, some schools, due to their success in finding funding through the school district or strong parent communities, are able to provide cultural education with music and art classes. More specifically, 94% of elementary schools nation wide provide music classes and 83% of schools nation wide provide art education. (http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2012/2012014rev.pdf). Now that’s excellent! The vast majority of US children are receiving training in the fine arts, becoming culturally matured in the process. There’s only one problem: a liberal calculation of percentage of art professions in the job market is at 0.245%. Meanwhile, musical professions are even lower, making up only 0.122% of all US jobs (http://www.bls.gov). Furthermore, the median average salary is $50,000.
These subjects are amazing for cultural appreciation! But, they don’t train the next generation for the jobs that are beginning to matter today; mainly, the rising demand for STEM professionals. 2,537,000 STEM jobs (http://www.bls.gov) are expected to open within the next 10 years; just these openings, not including already existing jobs or already occupied ones, would by themselves account for more than 1.75% of the job market! On top of that, the median salary is $120,000.
Why isn’t the US training its kids, the children that already know how to use the new and rapidly proliferating technology of tablets and smartphones, the teenagers that already engage in most of their life through packets of data, to understand and develop the technologies that surround and bind them? Out of the 1.11 billion Facebook users (http://investor.fb.com/releasedetail.cfm?ReleaseID=761090), how many truly know what complex operations occur when they press the ‘Like’ button?
STEM jobs make up more than 50% of US economic expansion (http://www.forbes.com); they sequence entire human genomes, calculate the complete effect of a drug without having to run a single human trial, fly men to the moon and back, connect the world in ways that make it possible to order a package from Tanzania and have it arrive safely on the doorstep of someone in Milwaukee 4 days later…
They are building the tools today that our lives will be structured around tomorrow.
What Can We Do?
There is a simple solution: start teaching the framework of modern technologies as soon as possible. By showing interest in the subject it will expand until it becomes part of the core curriculum taught at every high school and elementary school.
Don’t wait to get these types of lessons started! Other countries are catching on faster than the US is, and with how valuable these skills are, it won’t be long before they produce the innovators and money-makers of the world.