The Need for a Top-down Approach to STEM Education in Adventist Schools

Over the course of history, there are turning points that revolutionized how we live. The use of bronze changed how we made tools and household implements. Then came the discovery of iron which, combined with the discovery of gunpowder by the Chinese, completely revolutionized everything from farming and hunting to warfare. Then in the late 1700s, the perfection and use of the steam engine turned our world upside down and began the Industrial Revolution with mass production and machines of all types. It drew people from farms to population centers to work in factories and manufacturing facilities and gave us all types of tools and gadgets to make our lives easier.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

AMEN! This is an excellent case by Mel Wade. In education achievements American students rank 21st in science and 27th in math, behind their peers in countries like Singapore, Japan and Canada. Adventist education in North America needs an overhaul. We in North America have many lessons to learn from other educators in this world church. We are lacking in creative alternatives to the status quo of lethargy and stagnation.


While I agree with the intention of the above, I have to take issue with the way this affirmation is presented. I would have been interested in a research-based article, or even one that presented anecdotal evidence for the assertions that make up the majority of this writing. Mr. Wade’s opinions are no doubt of interest and substance; however, educational practice must be driven by measurable, proven theory, and not what seems the main argument here: everyone is doing it. Again, STEM content and methodology are important; it’s just that education is prone to being blown about by the hot winds of whomever holds the mic at the moment.

Thanks Brent @daddydude ,

There is a plethora of information already that supports the need of STEM education in general. Those articles have been written and are available in many educational and peer reviewed publications on the web. I encourage any readers to seek those out and find the case for STEM education. It is not my attempt to replicate those in this article. I also have a lot of anecdotal experiences that show the challenges we face in Adventist Education, but my intention in this article is not to call out individuals or organizations, but to spur thought and discussion.

STEM is far from a “hot wind” from the person holding the mic at the moment. I encourage readers to take time to peruse the US Department of Education site that I referenced and do their own research on the web as it relates to STEM education. Please don’t take my word for it but investigate and discuss it in your local communities!


One thing that is nice is moores law applies to enterprises. You are actually rewarded if you put off buying useless hospital software like Salesforce and Cerner, or don’t renew the contract.

Whenever I give advice to non profits it’s always to be happy you aren’t a tech company and focus on your mission, and don’t try to be one. Too many times people think they need to play catchup and that’s when they get looted by Silicon Valley.

Biotechs are looters too though. While patients are on their death beds Genentech staff are renting out ballparks, the best restaurants and are getting drunk off wine.

Doubtful though they could turn the liberal arts Adventist system into more of a STEM system. Kindof like trying to make it viticulture, landscape architecture, or cooking all of a sudden.

They are probably only ok in the medical field because they have people teaching who live and breath it. That would never be the case with STEM. Plus arent electronic devices suppose to be off on the seventh day? That gives people only six days which isn’t enough to compete in the STEM professions. SDA as a religion hooking up to the grid is inducing the end of time.

That said teaching highschool students with matlab, teaching elementary linear algebra to them, and giving them data structures might go a long ways. I had some washed up hack of a religion teacher who no one held accountable I would have gladly traded for better science classes.


Thanks for your feedback! You are right in that we need all types of careers. Not everyone should should be programmers and engineers! Why “think like an engineer”? The engineering process is really a way of thinking to solve problems that can be applied to many different professions. In fact teachers can using the engineering design process in many different subjects. There are variations of the process but here’s a simplified model from NASA.

Many readers are likely unaware that Loma Linda University for some years now has hosted STEM education training for (primarily) SDA educators throughout North America. I know a few people who contribute to and have taken the program, and feel that the Church–and most certainly the university–is making a concerted effort to do the right thing. However, if my understanding is correct, much of the funding is coming from donors who recognize the value of STEM education rather than from the church itself. I strongly suspect the GC is much more concerned about faith and science education (i.e., scientific creationism) than STEM education. As one notorious Twitter tweeter would put it: sad!


Math. Is the foundation of technology, and certainly engineering. science is a disciplined way of using math to solve problems or make applications. The basic tool is measurement. Without it is not possible to build a bridge The keys are Calculus and understanding the math of distribution --measure once or cut twice is the discipline of STEM

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I think @ProfessorKent Is correct, Adventist’s educational system can only be corrected with help from outside the system. @mel_ca, you and educators who share your concern need to band together and create an interface for outside donors willing to fund and support the changes you seek. It is incredibly difficult and frustrating for people in industry to have an impact within the Adventist school systems. Without the right inside connections it feels like a waste of time and resources. It will also be necessary to track and publish the results of STEM updates to the school systems. People like to participate in projects that are succeeding.



@jswilson, thank you for your comments. I would love to explore your insights further offline. Please contact me at if that is something you are willing to do.