Tag Archives: caucus

Tech Thursday: Pt. 2 STEM to STEaM’s Ties to Common Core

Make NO mistake: it has been a calculated plan for STEM and Common Core to be directly related.
Make NO mistake: it has been a calculated plan for STEM and Common Core to be directly related.

Welcome back, anti CCSS Warriors, for Part 2 of my “STEM to STEaM: Ties to CCSS” article. In yesterday’s portion, you got the basic foundation of how STEM and Common Core became united. Today, we’ll dive into the “STEaM” portion of the mix. If you recall, we were using the analogy of a vehicle (CCSS), a driver (STEM), and the gas (STEaM) in our ‘engine’ yesterday. I’d like to continue to use that analogy.

The Gas,  “STEaM”:

In closing yesterday’s article,  I left you with the concept that no overreach from the federal level of government into education is proper. In order for the current p3 led overreach (aka: ‘Common Core’) to succeed, it’s going to need a lot of fuel..a propellant of sorts to keep the momentum up. While we’ve seen some of those new propellants pop us (Next Gen Science, C3 Civics, and others), none is as welcome (or needed) for STEM to carry on it’s ‘STEM citizenry’ than ‘STEaM’. As I shared yesterday, ‘STEaM’ is “Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Math”. The CCSS Machine has even cranked out a catchy phrase for the ‘gas’. “STEM to STEaM”. Who’s on board? Ahh…we’ll soon find out.

More STEaM, Less Americana:

Using the same PCAST Sept. 2010 Report from yesterday’s portion in this series, take a minute to look back at the 5 main agenda points. Using those 5 points, STEaM is the newest angle in the ‘national standards’ movement in American education. In our recent past, there’s been a “STEM to STEaM” movement which has involved not only a post-secondary school acting as headquarters for the movement, but U.S. Congress members, corporations, and elementary, secondary schools chiming in as well. Caucuses have formed in Washington, D.C. to seek federal funding for this newest ‘college and career readiness’ power. The post-secondary school wasting no time in being a cheerleader for the nation about “STEM to STEaM? Rhode Island’s School of Design.
( see: http://stemtosteam.org/about/ ) *Note: when I first learned about STEM to STEaM, it was spelled as I’ve been spelling it: where only the “a” is lower case, however, it appears that even that has been changed so that all the letters are now upper case. I’ll do my best to reflect this makeover from here forward.

According to “STEAM’s” website, our 21st century economy depends on it (Steam, that is).
Here’s their description, “In this climate of economic uncertainty, America is once again turning to innovation as the way to ensure a prosperous future. Yet innovation remains tightly coupled with Science, Technology, Engineering and Math – the STEM subjects. Art + Design are poised to transform our economy in the 21st century just as science and technology did in the last century. We need to add Art + Design to the equation — to transform STEM into STEAM. STEM + Art = STEAM STEAM is a movement championed by Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) and widely adopted by institutions, corporations and individuals. The objectives of the STEAM movement are to: transform research policy to place Art + Design at the center of STEM; encourage integration of Art + Design in K–20 education; and influence employers to hire artists and designers to drive innovation.”

Pause here for a moment and ponder how this fits with those 5 main agenda points in STEM. Refer back to the pages around 12 in the PCAST Report where it’s revealed that in order for the 5 agenda items to thrive, the need to embed them in Common Core had to be met. Now, let’s proceed, shall we?

June 2014:

For the STEAM folks, this is an important month. Why? It was in this month that a group from the NAfME (National Association for Music Education) went to Washington, D.C. for a Congressional event. Two days of “music in the 21st Century STEaM education” was held. As per the press release, 63 Congressional members were ‘on board’ with the concept. The goal? A better prepared 21st Century workforce population. Here’s the excerpt:
“Supported by Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (OR) and Congressman Aaron Schock (IL), since its creation in 2013, the bipartisan Congressional STEAM Caucus has grown to include 63 members of Congress. The STEAM movement focuses on the inclusion of the arts in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) curricula, as the arts play a unique and critical role in helping students develop the kind of innovative and creative skills that they will need to succeed in the 21st-century workforce.” This was followed by NAfME’s purpose for being involved, “NAfME’s objective for the briefing is to explore the role of music in STEAM curricula, and to discuss how music helps students develop the workforce skills they will need to succeed after completing their studies.” To see the entire press release, http://www.nafme.org/press-release-nafme-congressional-briefing-explore-the-role-of-music-in-a-21st-century-steam-education/

Here’s a You Tube video of one of the NAfME’s Congressional Briefings. It’s from 2014. It is related to the press release above. Why I’m including it is due to the content. In this video you’ll see  and hear how the STEAM curricula (was at that point) still being developed. You’ll notice that in this arena, STEAM standards were still being fleshed out. But, you’ll want to note when and where in the video the efforts to make everything align to the current ‘common’ standards in place. The briefing is just one of the instances to seek more government funding (via research grants) to have music cause education to dig deeper and wider. Much of the very same CCSS language we’ve heard will be used in the STEM/STEAM presentation. All have the same goal: Orchestrated student lifetime success. To pull all this off, we’ll need MORE STEM/STEAM teachers (think of those 5 original goals). Note how only STEAM teachers will be able to teach STEAM topics. (does this sound familiar?) Expect to hear how data will follow the students (just like CCSS, STEM, Workforce). Oh, be sure you note what CCSS supportive corporation is also present at this briefing.

Simply put, all this is a bridge to connect one education reform aspect to another. And, it’s one the government is heavily banking on that we’ll embrace.

Related Sources:

A related resource you may like: NAfME’s call for aligning teachers to the (then) new CCSS aligned Art Standards: http://www.nafme.org/coalition-launches-call-for-benchmarking-teachers/

Another related resource: NAfME’s Congressional attention getting “Bubbles” CCSS aligned program.
See: http://www.nafme.org/teachers-spoke-nafme-listened-congress-got-the-message/

*Note: I bring up these both, as I’ve written on both of them in a previously published article. I  detailed for you HOW aligned to Common Core they both the Art Standards and the “Bubbles” are.  Both are included in the published post from Feb. of this year. See:  https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/2015/02/15/rmt-ccss-hits-the-sour-notes/


In the third portion, I’ll be showing you that STEAM is much older than it appears. How STEM has even more up its sleeve for America. It is my hope you’ll be able to see just how encompassing all this is and what it means not only for education, but for our country.


Tech Thursday: When You Think It’s Not CCSS, But It Is!!

Can you believe the U.S. Congress has a CTE (adult CCSS) caucus??!! Wow!
Can you believe the U.S. Congress has a CTE (adult CCSS) caucus??!! Wow!

If you’ve not heard of the U.S. Congress’ Career and Technical Education Caucuses, by the end of this article, you will know quite a bit.

Websites: http://careerandtechnicaleducationcaucus-langevin.house.gov/ (*Note: this is the U.S. House of Representative’s Caucus)
http://www.portman.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/2014/1/portman-kaine-announce-career-technical-education-caucus (*Note this is the press release announcing the Senate’s CTE Caucus from 2014)

Differences between the two (aside from the separate chambers in D.C.)?:

The House’s CTE Caucus has been in action since 2007; The Senate’s geared up in 2014.

ACTE, Not the First Time I’ve Written About Them:

The ACTE (Association for Career and Technical Education) has this tidbit on their CTE Caucus page,
“…call attention to CTE as a proven method for promoting America’s continued economic growth and ensuring that our students have the skills they need to succeed.” To see more from ACTE about the background of U.S. Congressional CTE caucuses: http://www.acteonline.org/caucus/#.VVPesflViko
From the Senate Caucus link above, Senator Portman’s announcement put CTE this way, “The Senate Career and Technical Education Caucus, a counterpart to the House Career and Technical Education Caucus, will support efforts to ensure all students have access to high-quality, rigorous career and technical education to prepare them for college and for their future careers. It will also work to ensure that unemployed and displaced adult and youth workers have better access to training that is accountable, equips them with skills that are relevant in the job market, and ultimately delivers results for the taxpayer.”

ACTE’s Letter to the U.S. President encouraging MORE aligned CTE and that it be rewarded!!
Here’s the text of the letter (the emphases you ‘ll see are mine):

May 23, 2014

The Honorable Barack Obama
President of the United States
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President,

We write today regarding the U.S. Presidential Scholars program, and career and technical education.

The U.S. Presidential Scholars program celebrated its 50th class of scholars this month.  President Johnson created this outstanding program by Executive Order in 1964.  It honors graduating high school seniors for academic excellence, artistic accomplishments, and civic contributions.  High school students apply based on their scores on college entrance assessments (the SAT or ACT).  Further evaluation occurs based on school transcripts, leadership, and contributions to the community.

This program also has a component for students in the arts.  Each year, up to 20 U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts are also selected, based on nominations by the National Young Arts Foundation through their YoungArts program.  These Scholars in the Arts are chosen for their accomplishments in the visual, literary and performing arts, as well as for their scholarship, leadership and public service.

The existence of the Presidential Scholars in the Arts program demonstrates a commitment to recognizing excellence in our high school students in multiple ways.  We urge you to create, by Executive Order, a Presidential Career and Technical Scholars program.  

Career and technical education (CTE) programs are a proven method to prepare secondary and postsecondary students with the rigorous academic and technical skills needed to compete in today’s global economy and to further their education.  It is in our national interest to not only provide all students access to rigorous CTE programs of study, but to also encourage high attainment by CTE students.

Over the past two decades, CTE programs around the country have responded to the growing skills gap by increasing the rigor of their programs through secondary-postsecondary links, dual enrollment and alignment with business and industry needs.  Today’s CTE programs are aligned with the needs of the 21st century workforce in career fields such as engineering, information technology, healthcare, and advanced manufacturing. In response to the increased rigor in programs, CTE student performance has risen to the challenge in dramatic fashion.

The Department of Education recently announced that the average U.S. high school graduation rate was 80 percent and Secretary Duncan pledged to push forward to close the gap to 90 percent.  CTE is playing an important role in achieving this goal, with the average graduation rate for CTE concentrators already above 90 percent. Moreover, secondary CTE students are more likely to pursue postsecondary education than their non-CTE counterparts. And CTE students are competing in world class competitions to test their knowledge in ways no standardized test could.  For example, the Skills USA WorldTeam earned a silver medal in the 2013 World Skills competition in Leipzig, Germany.

Your administration has called for an emphasis on college- and career-ready standards in our schools. In your most recent State of the Union address, you highlighted the importance of students obtaining some form of postsecondary training.

As you prepare to deliver the commencement address at Worcester Technical High School on June 11, 2014, we urge you to support rigorous CTE programs around the country and to recognize high-performing CTE students.  It is time we recognize and value the efforts of our students who have chosen CTE pathways.

As cofounders of the Senate Career and Technical Education Caucus, we urge you to issue an Executive Order to establish a Presidential Career and Technical Scholars Award in line with other presidential awards for student achievement in academics and the creative arts.


U.S. Senator Tim Kaine
U.S. Senator Rob Portman
U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin

I’ll be sure to include the links for you to follow so you can see why I emphasized the portions of letter that I did. But let’s continue the Caucus focus, shall we??

The House’s Caucus:

Right now, H.B 2317 is in the spotlight. What’s the bill about, Career Choice Counseling. Why is this a big deal? If you’ve not seen my article exposing how big the push to align school counselors is to all things CCSS, CCR (college and career ready) and CTE is, then read it first, then read H.B. 2317’s description. (See: https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/2014/10/10/fridays-post-breaking-news-you-need-to-know/)
Here’s a portion of the description for H.B. 2317, “Amends the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to direct the Secretary of Education to award competitive establishment grants to states to develop and implement comprehensive school counseling programs that provide students with effective postsecondary education planning and career guidance services.” (to read the rest of the description, http://careerandtechnicaleducationcaucus-langevin.house.gov/legislation) To access the H.B. 2317 full text, https://www.congress.gov/bill/113th-congress/house-bill/2317

The Senate’s Caucus:

Recently, they passed a resolution (March 2015) supporting all things CTE/STEM related and even added language that appears to glorify rigor, college/career readiness and so much more. You’ll need to read it for yourselves to see what I mean. See: https://www.congress.gov/congressional-record/2015/03/03/senate-section/article/S1254-1

Back to the ACTE for a moment:

If you’d like to keep up with what the Caucuses of BOTH the House and Senate are up to, the best place is the ACTE’s Caucus page titled “CTE Policy Watch”.  For example, if you go to their website right now, you’d see how we as citizens of each of our states needs to urge our members to push for MORE CTE via Perkins Funding! To access the CTE Policy page, http://ctepolicywatch.typepad.com/blog/cte-caucus/

Related resources to help you connect the dots:
*How Perkins Funding is being used to push more adult level CCSS (aka CTE):

*How Skills USA and others are connected to CTE and more CCSS:
Part 2: https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/2015/05/07/tech-thursday-upskilling-america-part-2/
Part 1: https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/2015/05/06/wybi-upskilling-america-part-1/

*How CTE and CCSS intersect:
1) https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/2015/04/09/tech-thursday-recapping-higher-ed-cteccss/
2) https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/2014/09/04/common-core-after-high-school-reality-check/

*About Job Development Grants our States are up for (ties CTE and more competitive funding to each of the 50 U.S. States)

*More on ACTE:

Of the many Career Cluster maps, here's the U.S. Dept. of Ed's
Of the many Career Cluster maps, here’s the U.S. Dept. of Ed’s