Are Your Favorite Classes Gone?


Pankhudi Prasad

Most children today are encouraged to take classes such as science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) because they believe it will greatly help them in the future. Humanities, on the other hand, is slowly being disregarded by many schools, universities, parents, and students. This interest in STEM over humanities courses has grown by 12.7% according to Danielle Crowe, a professor at the University of Southern California. It is affecting the global job dynamics by opening up many job opportunities in the humanities-related fields while cutting down on the availability of jobs in the STEM field.

Furthermore, with less interest in humanities, fewer courses are being introduced. Only 38 humanities courses are offered at Yale, in comparison to the 62 STEM courses–which is quite a jump. In addition, Yale is planning on introducing new STEM courses such as forestry, data visualization, business analytics, animal behaviors, and research methods in the upcoming semester alone. However, Psychology is the only humanities course being added. This paucity of humanities is creating a snowball effect. With fewer courses being offered, fewer students are signing up, and thus more classes are getting shut down. 

This trend is prevalent in Waterford High School as well. Last year alone, two English teachers –Kim Thibeau and Katherine Morgan– were transferred to Clark Lane Middle School because the high school did not have enough available positions in the English department. Moreover, a few years ago, the school had enough students to fill up four public speaking courses, while today, the school doesn’t have enough to have a single class. 

This deterioration in interest is also noticed by teachers at Waterford High School, like Mr. Silvestri, an English teacher. He talked about how even though this trend is prominent in society, it is reasonable, saying, “tech jobs have been growing as the years go on. The amount of jobs available in the tech industry now is far more than those years back and so the student interest in those fields makes sense.” Although there are many jobs such as journalist, archeologist, high school teacher, author, social worker, and more, the pay of these jobs on average is almost half that of STEM occupations. Moreover, Mr. Silvestri also mentioned how students in STEM get opportunities to prepare for jobs that do not exist. This is due to how technology is evolving. Twenty years ago, jobs such as data scientist, AI engineer, app developer, and SEO analyst (a search engine specialist) did not exist. Thus it is inevitable to see more courses added to STEM. The need for employees grew and will keep growing. 

Unlike Mr. Silvestri, who noticed this trend, Mr. Ryan, a math teacher, was not aware of it. He talked about how, “if the trend is in favor of STEM, I probably would not notice it anyway.” Since the Math department is not losing any members, he was not affected as directly as Mr. Silvestri. And although he has not noticed it in the present day, he noticed a different trend of interest when he graduated. He mentioned, “one of the reasons I chose math was because of the number of people entering English fields.” There were more jobs available in math because of the abundance of people entering English. Furthermore, Mr. Ryan also talked about how he believed these interests come in waves. Although STEM may be popular now, it is bound to flatline, and the importance of another subject may rise leading to another trend. 

Although this decline in the courses and majors related to humanities is apparent throughout the country, the change is due to people adapting to advancement in the community. With new technology, there is a need for people to focus on STEM. However, it is important to realize that without the creative minds that humanities contribute to, these new inventions would not be possible. Based on Mr. Ryan and Mr. Silvetri, these trends are apparent but are also prone to changing because interest comes in waves. To recapitulate, being an all-rounder is what will help an individual to the highest of positions.