I have discussed previously how critical the STEM components are in educating our students. Yet these four disciplines (science, technology, engineering, and math), while essential in providing opportunities for innovation need to be coupled with an artistic element in order to foster creativity. Thus, art educators are now heralding the call to transform STEM into STEAM. According to the Rhode Island School of Design, the objectives of the STEAM movement are to:
- transform research policy to place Art + Design at the center of STEM
- encourage integration of Art + Design in K–20 education
- influence employers to hire artists and designers to drive innovation
Arts and sciences are compatible because they both foster creativity. The STEAM caucus, which is backed by several members of Congress, aims “to change the vocabulary of education to recognize the benefits of both the arts and sciences—and their intersections—to our country’s future generations.”
Sir Ken Robinson, an expert in creativity, maintains the current classroom paradigm in this country “kills creativity.” Long gone are the days of providing an education to an essentially agrarian population. We need to educate not only for the present in technology and design, but also for the future. Arts education takes many forms, from music, to dance, painting, and design, which receive relatively little, if any, funding in the public schools. Arts education in this country provides opportunities for individual expression that may help individuals explore aptitudes undiscovered in a typical classroom. Full STEAM ahead!