Imbalance between STEM and Humanities classes

Connor Heffernan, Online Editor

Selecting junior year classes at the end of sophomore year is an exciting time. However, this excitement can turn into disappointment when looking at the class options.

If a sophomore is interested in humanities classes, they have 20 to choose from. Two language classes are required for graduation and three are recommended by colleges.

This means that in reality, a sophomore has 13 options for their humanities classes.

The number of classes decrease when it comes to social sciences. A junior takes either United States History or AP United States History (APUSH) with Psychology as an elective option. A senior has the option of AP Economics when required to take Government and Economics.

In comparison to the 13 options for humanities, there are 23 science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) classes offered, however it should be noted that an engineering student takes one class per year.

In addition to this, two years of lab science classes are required for graduation and three are required for colleges. There are a total of seven lab science classes. This means that STEM in reality has 19 options.

Another inequality is that Humanities classes have 4 APs and 1 honors French class, while STEM has 6 APs and 2 honors math classes. Something important to the school is the talk of new classes. Next year, AP Art History (humanities class) and AP Computer Science Principles (STEM class) will be offered to upperclassmen.

When asked about the potential introduction of AP European History to the curriculum, Principal Liz Seabury described the course as too “Euro-centric.”

According to APUSH teacher Francie Salle, AP World History is too complicated for most teachers, and it is not likely to be adopted. Unlike AP European History, AP World History is not currently a class taught in the Tamalpais High School District.

Meanwhile, STEM and humanities have been merged in the small learning communities (SLC). Da Vinci, focused on engineering and hands-on learning and includes humanities as well.

The Learning Collaborative and ROCK are other SLCs that are based in STEM as well as humanities. Students use technology to create projects based in humanities.

Rather than dividing the school and teaching STEM and humanities separately, it may be more productive and efficient to integrate both.

“As a teacher, the goal should be to use technology and create a website but have that work towards humanities as well” technology teacher Rod Milstead said.