Computer programming isn't the only skill kids need

I completely agree with Alec Ross’s assertion that Maryland students need — and deserve — a well-rounded education that includes computer science (“Md. needs coding classes starting in kindergarten,” June 14). However, as more and more schools today move toward prioritizing educational opportunities in STEM fields and other sciences, the humanities — history, philosophy, literature, ethics — are devalued and too often pushed out of the classroom.

As much as an education in computer science or STEM can be a reliable predictor for future success, so too can an education in the humanities. The skills that students develop through the humanities such as critical thinking, writing and research and analysis are useful in virtually every profession. As the executive director of our state humanities council, Maryland Humanities, I’ve witnessed epiphanies in the students (and adults) who participate in our programs.

We’ve seen middle school students who had never finished a book before finally experience the joy of reading through our One Maryland One Book program. High-school students who thought history was “boring” had their expectations upended when they learned the immense value of delving into the past through our veterans’ oral history program at Southern High School. Increasing access to the humanities can be as life-changing as increasing access to the sciences. Let’s come together to make a truly well-rounded education the priority.

Phoebe Stein, BaltimoreThe writer is executive director of Maryland Humanities.

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