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Even During Arts Education Week, STEM Often Overshadows the Importance of Arts

STEM learning will likely continue to be a focus in school, afterschool and college prep curriculums. However, there are strong voices from education experts saying that the arts are not an option but a must. Can arts lessons and programs integrate well with STEM and is it worth to ensure that the arts are part of a student's life?

“Historically, it was believed that science, math and English were the pillars of a solid K-12 education,” according to Neil Levine of Florida Today. Levine is the director of a cultural and arts organization in Brevard County, Fla., the Brevard Cultural Alliance.

“While these are undoubtedly critical skill sets, it has become ever more clear that arts integration in the classroom leads to better comprehension, improved critical thinking and the creative application of traditional science, math and English skills.”

Levine cites the Department of Education who reported that K-12 students who participated in STEM classwork achieved better grades when art-based learning was integrated. This has transformed STEM into STEAM, a concept that is now being pushed across the nation.

“This week we celebrate national Arts Education Week, a resolution passed by the U.S. House of Representatives in 2010 to bring to the attention of elected officials and educational decision makers the importance of arts in education and to support equitable access to the arts for all students,” according to Levine.

There are many ways in which the arts can be beneficial to student development, including the following:

  • Improves Comprehension
  • Improves Critical Thinking Skills
  • Makes for Easier Application of STEM Skills
  • Encourages Fresh Thinking
  • Helps Explore Socially Acceptable Outlets of Expression
  • Helps Identify Careers Within the Arts 

Levine said that the Brevard Cultural Alliance is one of the alliances formed to “Empower Through Education.” The BCA focuses on innovative arts integration in local classrooms. It’s a concept that could prove extremely useful in classrooms across the nation.

It’s hard to imagine a world where students put the arts to the side and put STEM first, since creativity sparks innovation in all fields.

Read the full story and comment below.

Article by Navindra Persaud, Education World Contributor

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