Music Education and STEM: Why the Tech World Should Be Concerned about Cuts to Music Ed
J Squared is a tech company. Yet music is at the heart of what we do. We are both musicians and tech geeks. For us it’s not an either/or proposition. And if you’re part of a company in a STEM field (Science, Math, Engineering & Technology), it shouldn’t be for you either. In fact, you should be as concerned as we are about cuts to music education and what they mean for your future.
In late October NPR ran a story about STEM education as it relates to the rewriting of No Child Left Behind. A few alarming statistics were trotted out. According to ACT (you remember those college tests, don’t you?) in 2013 only 46% of students were ready for college level math. Only 36% were ready for science. This doesn’t paint an encouraging picture for the future of STEM oriented companies. It’s downright bleak.
At the same time, classroom time and funding for music education have dropped radically. In 2007 the Center for Education Policy reported that classroom time for music had dropped by 44%. That was pre-great recession, and great recession school budget cuts.
Now, when the data has shown for over 20 years that music education improves performance in STEM subjects, why aren’t more tech companies
rallying for demanding increased time and funding for music education? To me it’s a no-brainer. I want to hire bright, creative, curious thinkers. I want to mentor the next generation of entrepreneurs and visionaries. But if we haven’t taught them to make connections beyond filling in a bubble sheet, if we haven’t taught them to think creatively how can they- how can we- solve complex problems? We can’t.
Co-founder Jack sums up the link between music and STEM in this excerpt below: