STEM vs. STEAM: Which is Better?


Drawing of Brain by Gabi Ellis

Charlotte Spina, Staff Writer

Schools across the United States offer a STEM curriculum for their students, but should STEM be changed to STEAM to include the arts?

Research for this topic began with the simple question of why. Why would schools need a program like STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) driven in these subjects? The condensed answer is jobs. As technology is expanding vastly around us, the jobs children will have, or even their children will have, do
not exist. At the turn of the century, the STEM program was created to give young students a pathway towards these jobs and encourage them to choose this academic journey in order to boost jobs in these fields, as they predicted they would need them. “These are the kinds of skills that students develop in science, technology, engineering and math—disciplines collectively known as STEM. If we want a nation where our future leaders, neighbors, and workers have the ability to understand and solve some of the complex challenges of today and tomorrow, and to meet the demands
of the dynamic and evolving workforce, building students’ skills, content knowledge, and fluency in STEM fields
is essential,” stated by the U.S Department of Education. The idea of STEM creating a future where careers in the
fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math are obtainable, is not necessarily detrimental.

“Design, thinking, and creativity are essential ingredients for innovation.” Thus, the debate on transitioning began, from STEM supporters feeling that to add the arts would be arbitrary, being that “STEM merely gives time and attention to subjects and skills underrepresented in American education.” Opponents of this believe the “STEM movement has caused a marginalization of arts programs and funding in schools and has led to widespread student disengagement.” These arguments have improved acceptance of STEAM, but many schools still follow the STEM labeled curriculum.

Analyzing all the different sides to the STEM vs.STEAM argument, it seems the program itself may be more negative than at first glance. Through time different subsets of the STEM program have been created, like girls STEM which is essentially the STEM program but tailored towards getting women involved as well, due to its predominantly male involvement. Girls STEM wants to normalize girls in Science and Math, but may instead be
dividing it more. The STEM program, in general, is giving students the false idea that depending on one’s career
field, they do not need to incorporate certain subjects in your education.