Although STEM education is critical, it is no longer enough
Nandi Edouard, CEO and Lead School Founder of The Simple Vue Academy, explains why we must now incorporate STEAM and STREAM education in our schools
In today’s globalized and fast-paced world, education has become an essential tool to achieve success in any field. However, not all education systems are created equal. Different approaches to education cater to different learning styles and are designed to equip students with distinct sets of skills.
STEM education focuses on imparting practical knowledge and skills in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. It aims to develop analytical and problem-solving skills in students, preparing them for careers in the rapidly evolving fields of science and technology. However, STEM education is often criticized for neglecting the arts and humanities, leading to the emergence of STEAM and STREAM education.
STEAM education is an extension of STEM education that incorporates the arts (A) into the curriculum, emphasizing creativity and innovation. STREAM education is an extension of STEAM that adds reading and writing skills (R) to the curriculum. Both STEAM and STREAM aim to create a more holistic education experience, catering to the needs of students who are interested in both STEM and the arts. While STEM education is critical for preparing students for the technological advancements of the future, the inclusion of arts, reading, and writing in STEAM and STREAM education can help develop well-rounded and creative individuals. The integration of art in STEAM education encourages students to think outside the box and solve problems using a more imaginative approach, which is beneficial for innovation and creativity in the workforce. Similarly, the addition of reading and writing in STREAM education helps students develop communication skills and the ability to express their thoughts and ideas effectively.
The importance of STEM, STEAM, and STREAM education cannot be overstated. In today’s rapidly changing economy, it is no longer enough for students to simply learn a set of facts and skills. Instead, they must develop the ability to think critically, problem-solve, and adapt to new challenges. One way to foster these skills is through a STREAM-based education. However, to truly prepare students for success, a STREAM-based education must go beyond simply teaching technical skills. It must also teach students the mindset and skills necessary to succeed in an entrepreneurial environment.
Charter schools are public schools that operate independently of the traditional public school system. They are granted a charter by the state or local government, which gives them greater flexibility in terms of curriculum, teacher hiring, and other aspects of school operations. Charter schools must still meet certain academic standards, but they are not required to follow all of the same regulations as traditional public schools. These schools focus on providing a more personalized and student-centered approach to education, catering to the specific needs of their students.
However, access to quality education is still a major issue in many parts of the country, particularly for minority communities. This is where the importance of charter schools founded by leaders of color in Atlanta comes in. These schools provide a vital platform for students to receive a quality education, especially in underserved neighborhoods where traditional public schools often struggle to meet the needs of students. Charter schools founded by Black women in Atlanta have been at the forefront of this effort, providing innovative and effective education programs that focus on STEM, STEAM, and STREAM. These schools are led by Black educators who understand the unique challenges facing Black students and are dedicated to providing them with the tools and resources they need to succeed.
Charter schools that have been founded by leaders of color have been shown to have a positive impact on student achievement, especially for students of color who often face systemic barriers in the education system. Representation matters, and when students see teachers and administrators who look like them, they are more likely to feel supported and encouraged to succeed. Black-founded charter schools provide a sense of community and belonging, which is critical for the academic success and overall well-being of students.
As a Black-founded charter school, The Simple Vue Academy is uniquely positioned to address the specific needs and challenges of students in metro Atlanta, with a focus on culturally responsive teaching practices and curriculum. The impact of The Simple Vue Academy on the community and its students will be profound. By providing access to a high-quality education, the school will help to break down barriers to success and improve life outcomes for its students.
It is important to recognize the role that charter schools play in the education system and to support their efforts to provide quality education to students. This includes ensuring that these schools have access to adequate funding, resources, and support from the community. Additionally, policymakers should focus on creating policies that promote equity and address systemic issues that prevent students from accessing quality education, especially for marginalized communities.
Nandi Edouard was born, raised and returned to Cobb County, Georgia, where she is a BES Fellow on the community co design track located in Atlanta, Georgia, and where she is working with her design team to reimagine the educational landscape in the state. Edouard serves as the lead school founder and chief executive officer of The Simple Vue Academy, proposed to open in 2025.
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