The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Our Readers Speak

March 28, 2014

Our Readers Speak — Friday, March 28, 2014

Education system doing a disservice

As a recent graduate of Woodrow Wilson High School, I can tell you how a cell functions as well as explain the average rate of change. Four semesters of science classes and eight semesters of advanced math classes not only ensured but forced both my knowledge and interest in these topics.

My school excelled every year in Math Field Day. We relished in our track record of superb AP Calculus and AP Biology scores yet neglected to create an AP government class until last year and still disregard the need for philosophy or economics classes.

The STEM agenda (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) reigned supreme, choking out interest in philosophy, economics and international affairs.

Who were Niccoló Machiavelli and John Stuart Mill? What is the role of the Federal Reserve? How does realism differ from liberalism? I can humbly admit, in my second semester as a Culture and Politics major at Georgetown University, that when asked these questions by my professors, every hand rose except mine.

The Raleigh County educational system is doing a disservice to its students. President Obama declared in 2012 that in order to compete with the rest of the world, the U.S. must create the best scientists, programmers and engineers. But how can we begin to supersede the other countries of the world if we don’t teach our children why or how the world operates in this way?

It’s not just future collegiate scholars who need to learn about democracy or supply and demand. Even those students who choose not to continue their education after high school will form a significant portion of voters, consumers, producers and global citizens. How often will a coal miner use calculus or biology? As someone with an income and ideologies, he will utilize macroeconomics and philosophy far more.

This is not to say, however, that all STEM curriculum should be minimized. I simply champion equal emphasis on learning about the mechanisms of government as we do on learning about the mechanisms of a cell.

Forget competing with the rest of the world. I can barely compete with other students in the School of Foreign Service at my university who had the benefit of civic education in high school. The political fervor of Georgetown is a Utopia, and we Hoyas cannot carry future governmental decisions, economic stability and world relations for the rest of others in our generation who haven’t had the opportunity to benefit from civic education.

Adelina Lancianese

Georgetown University

Washington, D.C.

formerly of Mount Hope

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