School districts, education foundations and the federal government are pushing for greater educational opportunities in science, technology, engineering and math. Meanwhile, more questions are coming up about whether art and design deserve a place at the STEM table. Many schools have committed to a STEAM concept, but some educators suggest the arts already are involved in the creative and innovative elements that are encouraged as part of a well-rounded STEM education.
STEM, or science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education has been a major component to 21st-century learning in K12, but some say the acronym needs to be more inclusive. Several groups created by educators have emerged to support the push for the addition of an “A” to STEM, for STEAM, to represent the disciplines of art.
In June 2011, The Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) worked with Rep. James Langevin to introduce Resolution 319 to the U.S. House of Representatives, which stated: “adding art and design into federal programs that target the…STEM fields encourages innovation and economic growth.” The resolution would have encouraged districts to include art and design in STEM during the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.