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Hughes High School

October 19, 2011

We went to Hughes High School, famous for its focus on STEM: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.  As with our visit to Elementz, I want to jot down some first impressions:

1.  That place is classy.  Gargoyles out front, Rookwood pottery on the inside, a big auditorium, everything.  They have an “Innovation Center”: Basically a computer lab/study hall thing, and it has both modern technology and a stained-glass window.  It’s just really cool, architecturally speaking.

2.  We learned that good technology is a lot easier to get than good teachers.  They have plenty of computer labs and projectors and “digital backpacks” (that last one was almost a running gag), but the one thing the assistant principal said needed improving the most was they needed more teachers and smaller classes.

3.  They’re doing a pretty good job at STEM, and the assistant principal talked a lot about how teachers collaborate to make it all work together.  Teachers are assigned to teams, and when they’re interviewed they test how they collaborate with others.  She said that this makes it easy to integrate english and math and science and everything together into a project.  That ties in with what someone mentioned about “STEAM”: STEM plus Art.  It’s really interesting.

The main question that came up in our final discussion is “Is this what we should optimize for?”  We want our country to be happy and productive, and is optimizing STEM knowledge the best way to do so?  Is STEM the be-all, end-all of education?  Are we missing out on the arts by doing this?  Does STEM education guarantee the innovations that drive American industry?  Should we take the same approach that the Asian education systems are?  Does “Marita’s Bargain” cost us anything essential?   In short, if you could look 20 years into the future and see all our STEM-educated kids grown up and becoming active in society, would you like what you’d see, or would you think you could do better?

One Comment
  1. Jessica permalink

    Ben, this post is very helpful in organizing your thoughts and capturing your reactions. How, though, does it address the blog prompt for this week’s assigned R&A? I am missing the full connection, though I do appreciate tha tyou left with many questions to explore — how will you learn more about the questions you raised?

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