Journal of Science Education and Technology

, Volume 28, Issue 1, pp 62–68 | Cite as

The Rise of the Useless: the Case for Talent Diversity

  • Yong ZhaoEmail author


This paper is a caution to the overemphasis on STEM in schools. Human talents and interests are extremely diverse for all sorts of reasons (nature via nurture). However, not all talents and skills have equal utility value in all societies. Thus, societies tend to suppress some and support others (via education or social policies). STEM represents the U.S. policy to support a narrow set of skills and talents/interests and suppress non-STEM skills. As the human society enters a different time, we have witnessed the rising value of other talents/skills. This paper brings evidence to show how traditionally undervalued talents/interests (arts, music, entertainment, global competency—translators/interpreters, interpersonal/intrapersonal, etc.) have gained value as human beings acquire more disposal income and leisure time to be able to consume psychological and spiritual products. The paper also discusses the potential danger of an excessive focus on STEM in education.


STEM Human diversity Education policy Achievement gap 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Informed Consent

Not applicable because the article does not involve the issue of consent.

Conflict of Interest

The author declares that he has no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of EducationEast China Normal UniversityShanghaiChina
  2. 2.School of EducationUniversity of KansasLawrenceUSA

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