STEM, STREAM or STEAM?

Dear Editor,

All of the above!!!!

Where does creativity develop in a young mind if they do not have the arts to provide them creative experiences? The arts allow students to build confidence in their work, develop motor skills, and hone decision-making and problem-solving skills. We cannot allow our children’s creative experiences in school to be taken away.

In essence, by removing the Arts from elementary years, you are choosing the path a child will go down, forcing them to concentrate on STEM careers. Not all students want to pursue a STEM career and some will never be able to function in that type of career. What will happen to the students that aren’t top echelon in STEM, but excel in the arts? They will not have the opportunity to excel in an area that comes naturally to them.

I feel the proper move would be to focus on STREAM at the elementary level, STEAM at the middle levels, and STEM at the high school levels. STREAM incorporates Science, Technology, Reading, Engineering, Arts, and Math. This should represent the current model in our elementary schools. In the middle level, the STEAM concept should be implemented. The Reading portion from STREAM integrates itself into the other core subjects. At the high school level, STEM should be implemented because there is more of a career guided focus on course selection in your freshman year. Students should also be able to take arts electives in high school, if they choose to focus on a career in the arts. The University of Florida conducted research that shows that “On average, students who study the arts for 4 years in high school score 98 points higher on the SATs compared to those who study the arts for half a year or less” and “Students who took up music appreciation scored 61 points higher on the verbal section and 42 points higher on the math section.” Students who study arts tend to perform better academically than those who do not. The arts help students build confidence, develop motor skills, and hone their decision-making and problem-solving skills. When students’ strengths are engaged using the arts, their motivation increases and the probability of successful STEM programs increases.

Think about the next question, as a parent, when you consider removing the arts from the elementary schools: Do your kids come home more excited to show you a good test or homework score or to show you what they made with their own two hands from art class?

Jeremy M. Wyman,

Warren

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