The Iowa Alliance for Arts Education supports and advances quality arts education programs.
Our mission is to increase awareness, recognition and support of policies, practices, and partnerships that ensure quality sequential arts education programs for all Iowa students.
Fall Mentorship Symposium Brouchure
Save the Date: Advocacy Day on January 28, 2015
On Wednesday, January 28th, 2015, the Iowa Alliance for Arts Education (IAAE) will be hosting the second annual Fine Arts Advocacy Day at the State Capitol in Des Moines. The purpose of the day is to advocate for Fine Arts instruction in Iowa schools and to ask for legislative support to add Fine Arts to the Iowa Core. Anyone interested in participating in the event should contact the IAAE Executive Director, Leon Kuehner at: Llkuehner@fastermac.net.
STEM is incredibly valuable, but if we want the best innovators we must teach the arts
We’ve all heard it before, we are facing another crisis. This time it’s one of mammoth proportions, and not the wooly kind. Public education isn’t making the cut as high-tech jobs across the nation go unfilled. What’s a country to do? Knowing this challenge will only compound with time, policy leaders have acted. To compete in a global market place, our leaders are doing everything in their power to push a focus on STEM education. Sure, it’s great to see our leaders unite under a common goal, but are they going the wrong way down the field?
“An increased focus in science, technology, engineering and math will lead to higher achievement and better career opportunities” Branstad said. He’s not alone. Within the last few years, Ohio Governor John Kasich signed a bill furthering STEM education and governors in Utah and Oklahoma have also got in on the action. Some states like Massachusetts announced initiatives as early as 2009.
President Obama has put a focus on STEM education with the White House’s Educate to Innovate initiative. The campaign is more than just a federal initiative, but has the combined effort of non-profits, corporations and science and engineering societies, garnering $700 million in public-private partnerships, getting 100 top CEOs on board and launching a new non-profit called Change the Equation and others.
STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) is believed to be the answer for our high tech job shortage. It’s refreshing to see so many of our leaders finally uniting under a common goal. They see the value of developing our students into leaders who will solve challenging problems in our world and that’s a good thing.
“Making things faster, cheaper, better, bolder is what STEM does to many industries. The computer industry is the one we look to today most commonly, but before that it was the automotive industry, the defense industry and any industry involving the business opportunities inherent to achieving economies of scale,” said John Maeda, a graduate from MIT, former President of Rhode Island School of Design, author of Laws of Simplicity and partner at venture capital firm Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers.
“Our contemporary world craves empathy and understanding in the face of an intensified onset of technological advances and a decline in direct interpersonal communication. Art and design can offer just that,” Pease told me.
Are the problems of tomorrow ones that can be addressed from STEM or STEAM? Ask South Korea. Often praised for its sky-high testing scores, beating the United States in math and science, they may know a thing or two about education. Despite testing well however, their students had a lack of interest in the fields that they were leading. Suddenly, with their own crisis on their hands, they sought out to find why was happening. They discovered the science and math fields, while beneficial, were too far removed from any real world application. Their kids were bored. By integrating science and technology with the arts, in 2011 the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology adopted STEAM.
Just as Michigan State has demonstrated alongside countless studies, students involved in quality music programs have shown higher participation with lower drop out rates, higher scores on standardized testing, 22 percent better English scores, 20 percent better in math and have demonstrated better problem solving skills.
Pease’s efforts among many others are apparently working. The STEM to STEAM movement has legs and is getting some much deserved attention. Pease informed me there is already a bipartisan Congressional caucus with about 20 House members, with the sole purpose of integrating the arts into STEM. Texas Instruments recently committed five million dollars to launch a STEAM academy in Plano, Texas and other companies have seen the light as well. “Industry leaders such as Boeing, Nike, Apple, Intel, 3M, and many more cite design and/or creativity to be a priority for their companies when seeking innovative solutions,” said Pease. She even has the numbers to back it up broken down by region.
Focusing on STEM as a tool to fill high-tech jobs and grow innovation is insufficient. The arts are more than just an activity that students enjoy at school, or a fun activity that can keep students occupied. The arts are more than entertainment or enjoyment, and certainly provide more opportunity beyond professional musicianship. The power of the arts (and yummy Raisin Brahms) may be the very thing we are missing.
As the kiddos go back to school, knowledge of science, technology, engineering and math are certainly important, but their imagination, creativity and how they interact with others is critical. Like any flower, the stem is valuable but the bloom on top inspires our imagination — and that’s what people connect to.
Brady is a writer and speaker focused on cultivating creativity. He founded the Iowa Creativity Summit and lives in Des Moines, where he owns Test of Time Design. He contributed to The Laws of Subtraction. Find him on Twitter, @JustinBrady.
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