What is STEM?

The Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education Coalition “represents all sectors of the technological workforce – from knowledge workers, to educators, to scientists, engineers, and technicians.”  They work to raise awareness about the role of STEM in the “global marketplace” and gain increased federal funding for STEM education.


How has STEM affected education policy?

States applying for Race to the Top could earn up to 15 points (out of a total of 500) for emphasizing STEM.  (See the Race to the Top Executive Summary for a complete scoring rubric.)  President Obama also addressed STEM in a January 2012 State of the Union speech.  (For more information, see this EdWeek article).  Additionally, in July of 2012, President Obama announced the dedication of $100 million to support STEM teachers.


The STEM Education Coalition is advocating for STEM to have a central role in the upcoming reauthorization of ESEA.  More information about the STEM Education Coalition’s legislative agenda is available here.


What is STEAM?

The initiative to change STEM to STEAM by adding the Arts was originally led by the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD).  The authors of the STEAM – Not STEM Whitepaper note the importance of creativity and innovation in today’s global economy.  This website compiles various information about the STEAM movement.

In early 2013, the Congressional STEAM Caucus was formed with the objectives of influencing those involved in research policy and k-20 education as well as employers to utilize the arts and design.


How can music educators use STEM and STEAM?

Music educators may be able to use STEM to their advantage.  STEM funds can sometimes be used to fund music technology.  If STEM funds become available for your school, it is worth seeing if you might be able to apply.  You can also search for STEM grants and funds online.  If you are going to approach your administration for funds for music technology, you might mention how your work interfaces with STEM.

Some music educators have also designed STEM music classes.  For example, see this PowerPoint by Pennsylvania music educator Brian Lloyd (


Other Resources:

The author of an invited blog on the Scientific American website asserts the relationship between science and the arts and the value of STEAM.

Mickey Hartley, drummer of the Grateful Dead, wrote a blog in which he advocates “making the arts a key variable in the STEM equation.”

The Ohio Alliance for Arts Education has a webpage devoted to STEAM.



Get the Form Pro widget and many other great free widgets at Widgetbox! Not seeing a widget? (More info)