For my return to “Would You Believe It?!” Wednesdays, I’ll share with you how the STEM Education Act of 2015 ties back to Common Core Standards. If you’ve followed my blog long enough, you are aware of the numerous times I’ve given you documented evidence of how STEM, STEM to STEAM, are all aligned with CCSS. (Did you know there’s now a STEM to STREAM? (It stands for Science, Technology, R______, Arts, and Math).
So, What is the STEM Education Act of 2015?
If you haven’t heard of this new federal law, it became such on October 8, 2015. In a nutshell, the law states that STEM must now include computer science. While that sounds perfectly innocent, there’s more to this law than a simple course addition. You wouldn’t need a federal law for that.
Here’s one of the ‘there’s more’ statements: “to support existing STEM education programs at the National Science Foundation.” Now, before I go on, let me clarify that this statement is only a short version, or a summary of the law. If you were to stop there, again, you’d think ”this doesn’t sound bad”.
But, let’s look at the Act itself. Here are the other organizations this extends STEM to. “For purposes of carrying out STEM education activities at the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and the Environmental Protection Agency.” These cover STEM in formal education settings, but wait..the new law covers STEM in informal settings as well. As in museums, camps, or anywhere else you can have an informal learning environment. Here’s the direct language, “improve STEM learning outcomes and increase engagement for K– 12 students, K–12 teachers, and the general public, including design and testing of the scalability of models, programs, and other resources.” You’ll also want to read how the Master Teaching Fellows are included. Read the new law:
To read how the Gates Foundation funded EdNews broke the story, see: http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/curriculum/2015/10/new_law_includes_computer_scie.html?cmp=eml-enl-cm-news2-RM
So, Where are the CCSS Connections?
Back in June 2015, I wrote an article after attending an education conference. Here is the one sentence expert from that article that ties NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) not only to STEM, but CCSS, as well: “NASA’s CCSS/STEM statement: http://spacemath.gsfc.nasa.gov/media.html ”
If you’d like to read the rest of the article and where I found more CCSS/STEM ties:
NOAA: When I searched the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration website, I was able to find an entire library of NOAA, CCSS resources. See: http://search.usa.gov/search?affiliate=oceanexplorer.noaa.gov&query=common+core+state+standards
If you want to see their STEM resources, http://search.usa.gov/search?utf8=%E2%9C%93&affiliate=oceanexplorer.noaa.gov&query=STEM+&commit=Search
NOAA even has the Next Generation Science Standards! See: http://search.usa.gov/search?utf8=%E2%9C%93&affiliate=oceanexplorer.noaa.gov&query=Next+Generation+Science+Standards
EPA, The Environmental Protection Agency:
Their website is on you should certainly check out. Why? This agency is not only ‘big’ in education, but its ‘big’ into our communities as well. See their ‘students’ page.
http://www2.epa.gov/students If you visit there, notice how they are classifying their offerings for education. It’s called ‘Environmental Education’. See that page: http://www2.epa.gov/education
What might be of particular interest is their rather dated pdf on aligning EPA issues with those of educational standards. As they put it, ‘Aligning EE Resources to National and State Curriculum Standards’. In this document (from the days of NCLB), you will find the FCAT assessment, the ASCD (Gates Foundation funded educational company), and more! Please make note the EPA used the 1983 “Nation At Risk” report, and Americans questioning education as reasons to align their resources with education. The report concludes with how the EPA planned on continuing to align with education in the future. Get the document, EPAalign
You may find the Washington Post’s article about the EPA CCSS aligned reading materials a bit ‘snarky’. After all, who wouldn’t want to replace classic reading materials with insulation guides? See: https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/compost/wp/2012/12/07/the-common-cores-70-percent-nonfiction-standards-and-the-end-of-reading/
The PCAST Report:
Rather than continue on with how each of the named federal agencies are tied to CCSS, I want to go back to when I first began to blog about fighting CCSS. After years of in-depth research, and sharing in among a few people also fighting CCSS, I was encouraged to go national with the sharing. Hence, the blog. One of the first articles was the original tie between STEM and Common Core. Since then, I’ve referred to it a lot. Why? Because that PCAST report laid out how the need for a STEM nation would use the, then, new ‘common standards’. Here’s an excerpt you might appreciate, “Nuggets of information include clear bipartisan support in the need for education reform in general (page vi); on page v, increasing federal involvement in education and a presence of public private partnerships is also brought into play. I found it interesting that the P3s were mentioned before the states.”
Be sure to read this one, warriors. You’ll especially want to see point #3, where the 2 prongs and 5 overarching priorities are laid out. Read: https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/2014/09/02/from-the-files-pcast-stem-and-common-core/
If that’s not enough ‘evidence’, be sure to go back and read the 3 part series I wrote about the STEM, STEAM, and CCSS.
Then there’s is the article about the STEM Affinity Network, The Race to the Top Funding, and Educational Waivers. Read, https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/2014/12/02/wybi-wednesday-rttt-stem-ed-waivers-and-more/
For how CCSS/STEM devoted the NSF (National Science Foundation) is, read: https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/2015/02/18/wybiupclosewithnsf/
What About the Computer Science?
Notice in the new law it specifically adds computer science. How is computer science aligned to CCSS now? I found the Computer Science Teachers Association‘s map of each course in computer science and its place in the CCSS. Get the map,
You might be interested to know that the CSTA has ‘completed crosswalks’ with Google, Linux, Oracle, and Tech Corps. See: http://www.csta.acm.org/Curriculum/sub/CompletedCrosswalks.html
You can also see the CSTA map of the Computer Science courses aligned to STEM.
Get that map: CSTA_Standards_Mapped_to_STEM_Cluster_Topics-2
If you’d like to see the CSTA sponsors, see:
You shouldn’t be surprised to see Google and Microsoft among the sponsors, but you may be surprised that the College Board is also a sponsor. Warriors, remember, the College Board is funded by each state!
STEM to STREAM?
Above, you can see I have given you much information about the STEM to STEAM shift. But STREAM?? If we look at the EdWeek article, notice the ‘R’ could stand for ‘religion’, or ‘reading and writing’, etc. Is there a more non-Gates funded perspective to what the ‘R’ subject may be?
The National Writing Project has their opinion, ‘ agencies also realized that adding the arts to STEM is not enough. We also need to add the thinking skills embodied in reading and writing. STEAM may condense into STREAM!’ This project also states how the National Endowment for the Arts, the NSF helped with the ‘A’ in the “STEAM”. Refer back to the above STEM to STEAM articles to see how CCSS aligned both these groups are.
In 2014, Huffington Post shared their take on STREAM. Reading took the ‘R’. This article also shared how essential to the ‘core’ ELA (English Language Arts) has been. Read the article, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rob-furman/stem-needs-updated-to-str_b_5461814.html
In my researched opinion, it appears the STREAM, just like the other standards based education reforms, needs proper vetting BEFORE they are made into law, but more importantly BEFORE they are EVER introduced into our classrooms!!