Breaking News for STEAM and Arts Education

BREAKING NEWS: “In the midst of the biggest shakeup of federal education law in over a decade, Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) successfully added an amendment today to the rewrite of the nation’s Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) legislation that will integrate the arts into STEM education (science, technology, engineering and math)…Read more

This is exciting news indeed. When STEMarts was formed in 2009, the idea of unifying the arts and STEM was only being explored on a university level by by Rhode Island School of Design and a few other innovators. Now STEAM initiatives are being supported by major science institutions such as The National Science Foundation with grant funding and conferences focusing on the marriage of art and science.

More good news. The Senate bill contains 11 arts-friendly provisions, and retains the arts as a core academic subject —a priority for Americans for the Arts and the arts education field. – See art as core subject to read about the announcement and see the highlights below. The implications for these changes in education are monumental. We are now moving steadily toward prioritizing creativity and recognizing the value of art as process and way of knowing in equal standing with the scientific method. I am very excited to be a part of this movement.

Here are the highlights of the Senate bill according to ARTSblog:

  1. The arts continue to be defined as a core academic subject! It is one thing to be defined, and something else entirely to include implementing requirements that can provide a clearer picture of what exactly it means to be a “core” subject. Here the bill:
  2. Provides that core academic subjects are included in instruction and enrichment activities associated with expanded learning time.

  3. In terms of funding, “core academic subject education activities” are also listed as eligible activities in the Local Competitive Grant program.

The Senate committee bill also would help strengthen the arts at the district and state education department levels. It does this in two key ways:

  1. The arts are specifically authorized under local educational agency activities, while also being described as “tools to promote constructive student engagement, problem solving, and conflict resolution.” This authorization is part of a new Safe and Healthy Students initiative and is a signal that the committee understands that teaching the arts brings a host of additional beneficial outcomes, in addition to achieving arts competency.
  2. Under state plans, the bill allows state educational agencies to describe how they will “encourage the offering of a variety of well-rounded education experiences to students.”

Read the full blog post here: