The future of the US economy rests on its ability to be a leader in the innovation that will be essential in creating the new industries and jobs that will be the heart of our new economy. Where the US has historically ranked 1st in innovation it now ranks between 3rd and 8th depending on the survey. We have taken steps to reverse this slide by embracing and funding the much needed improvements in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education.
STEM is based on skills generally using the left half of the brain and thus is logic driven. Much research and data shows that activities like Arts, which uses the right side of the brain supports and fosters creativity, which is essential to innovation. Clearly the combination of superior STEM education combined with Arts education (STEAM) should provide us with the education system that offers us the best chance for regaining the innovation leadership essential to the new economy.
The competitors for that leadership, such as China and many other countries in Asia and Europe, include vigorous Arts curriculum as a national priority in their public school systems and we must do the same. The mission is to make the country, its leader and the funding agencies aware that Arts are not just a “nice” thing to have in the education systems – but rather they are an essential national priority to the future of the US in this rapidly changing global economy. Without that priority the US will slide farther down the list of economies.
STEM education is necessary but it is not sufficient – we must have STEAM education – our future is at risk otherwise.