Kamyar Enshyan, Director of the Center for Energy and Environmental Education at the University of Northern Iowa, has an interesting op-ed piece in yesterday’s Des Moines Register. Talking about the widespread emphasis on STEM and STEM education, Enshyan observes a certain selectiveness with which knowledge and insights gained from STEM research are applied. He concludes:
It is hard to take STEM talks seriously if so much of what we already know from science is ignored routinely on matters vital to our health, the land and our economy.
Enshyan’s critique is directed primarily at policymakers and industry leaders, but the implications are much broader. Having good information and access to it may not be sufficient. It is also critical that we account for how STEM knowledge is used in the various economic, political, and social spheres of life in pursuit of particular goals and outcomes. This, of course, requires systemic, usable science literacy among individuals in all of these groups.