STEM to STEAM?

Arts advocates want to get on the science-math bandwagon, turning STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) to STEAM, reports Ed Week.

For instance, the Philadelphia Arts in Education Partnership, with support from a $1.1 million Education Department grant, is working with city schools to help elementary students better understand abstract concepts in science and mathematics, such as fractions and geometric shapes, through art-making projects.

Harvey Seifter, director of the Art of Science Learning, organizes STEAM conferences, arguing that studying art teaches creativity.

John Maeda, the president of the Rhode Island School of Design, “invokes STEAM as a pathway to enhance U.S. economic competitiveness, citing as an example the late Apple co-founder, Steve Jobs, a leading force behind the iPod, iPhone, and other electronic devices,” Ed Week writes.

Sure, the arts are important. And integrating subjects often makes sense. But I worry that students will spend less time learning science and math and more time on the “crayola curriculum.”

 

Weapons of Math Destruction

From a cartoon site pledged to defeat “fuzzy math.”

Coloring for Obama

Students at an elementary school in New Rochelle, New York  were assigned to color in drawings of Barack Obama to mark his inauguration, writes Robert Cox of Talk of the Sound.

The drawings depicted Obama in various heroic poses, flags waving in the background, but one drawing went beyond adulation into overt political activity disguised as a pedagogical exercise. The drawing is a campaign button, in the center of a circle Barack Obama is smiling surrounded by another circle with the words “Students for Obama 2008.”

It’s not just inappropriate. The crayola curriculum is a waste of students’ time.