It seems like STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) is everywhere in the world of education these days. You hear about the benefits of a STEM-based curriculum when you turn on the radio, tune into the State of the Union address, or get within 50 yards of a school.
The Chicago Public Schools (CPS) is turning STEM into STEAM by establishing new priorities that focus on integrating the arts into the school day of every child. The school network’s new Arts Education Plan, backed by mayor Rahm Emanuel, outlines six arts education priorities that many hope will lead to art for every child, in every grade, every day. The plan will be released in full form later this month and is a multi-year approach spanning from 2012 to 2015.
What will this report mean for museums and other community art partners? If all goes as planned, CPS will be increasing their demand for arts programming (and the money that goes into making these programs possible). It is clear in the report that CPS hopes to streamline the process for developing partnerships between schools and museums. You don’t have to argue with me about the benefits of the arts in schools, but I worry about the large promises being presented in this abstract. Half of me is pleased that there is at least something being attempted that isn’t STEM, STEM, STEM – but I wonder what the repercussions on already taxed teachers with tight budgets might be. Check the report out for yourself, is arts in every school, every grade, every day too good to be true? What impact do you think this could have on Chicago’s museums?