Publication Date

January 28, 2013

Perspectives Section

AHA Activities, From the President

Reacting to the emphasis on STEM disciplines–science, technology, engineering, and mathematics—in Obama’s inaugural address and the White House’s report on “The Future of the U.S. Research Enterprise,” AHA President Kenneth Pomeranz makes the case for history, especially when it comes to the formation of policy.

Education designed by Thibault Geffroy from The Noun Project

The 2009 stimulus bill is one example where historical perspective should have played a role in assessing the competing predictive economic models. History opens up larger questions when we realize that the very idea of a “gross national product” is merely 75 years old, suggesting that “maximizing that particular measurement is not inevitably the paramount goal of economic policy.”

Pomeranz’s article has already started a discussion online, with one commenter remarking, “my music training enabled me to learn mathematics. The minute someone decides what a student “needs,” they are offering the student a limited education and compounding the problem of education.” Another replied, “Many social scientists still describe American social problems as if we were living in the early 1960s, and a lot of research is activism masquerading as science. Unless these disciplines update themselves and become more objective, they don’t deserve government funding.” Read the entire article here.


This post first appeared on AHA Today.

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