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Janet Napolitano spoke this past week at Shasta College about the importance of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education, but Debra Lucero of Shasta County Arts Council is suggesting that we add an A for the Arts and bring on the STEAM.

The University of Florida’s Online Master of Arts program says that an art education is known to improve academic performance:

  • On average, students who study the arts for 4 years in high school score 98 points higher on the SATs compared to those who study the same for half a year or less.
  • Students who took up music appreciation scored 61 points higher on the verbal section and 42 points higher on the math section.
  • Of the elementary schools with arts, the most common subjects revolve around music at 94% and visual studies at 83%. Only 3% offer dance instruction while 4% provide theater arts.
  • Training in the arts has been shown to improve creativity and innovation.
  • Students learn to approach issues with a critical mind and a positive attitude towards problem solving.
  • Exposure to the arts enhances communication skills, which are essential tools for collaboration.
  • It develops flexibility and adaptability.
  • The government recognizes these and, indeed, 48 states have adopted standards for art instructions.

However, 51% of art teachers are unhappy about what they see as the decline in art education brought about by the shift in focus. The difficulty in measuring art’s contribution to academic performance has led to it’s under appreciation.

To learn more about STEM vs STEAM, take a look below at the infographic below created by the University of Florida.

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