Should schools embrace making because it develops job skills?

I often hear that making, especially learning to program, is valuable because it develops “job skills”.

However, I don’t advocate for programming or making or tinkering because it’s a job skill. In fact, the “STEM crisis” is largely a myth. (See this IEEE article series.) There is even speculation that this is largely manufactured by companies trying to get more visas for lower paid workers, plus drive down salaries for veteran engineers and scientists by inflating the numbers of graduates.

That aside, I believe that programming is strongly a part of any real “maker” program and should not be artificially separated. I also don’t believe that kids learning programming or doing hands on work is “job training.” I believe it creates habits of mind that serve everyone. Logical thinking, problem-solving, and creativity are good for everyone. All students should have access to this basic literacy just like reading and writing is taught to all even though we don’t believe that everyone will be novelists.


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