Tag Archives: NAfME

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.


RMT: CCSS Hits the Sour Notes?

Like roses turned black, is CCSS's hand at music.
Like roses turned black, is CCSS’s hand at music.

The Riddle today: Can CCSS really carry a tune?

“Broader Minded”?:

We all know the claims about those CC Standards being so much better than all the previous ones. We’ve heard the hot air surrounding how MUCH more ‘broad minded’ we’ll all become because we’ve been ‘given’ better education opportunities. But, have we, REALLY? Somehow, if you’re like me, you just have to keep reading, eventhough you know the answer.

The National Association for Music Education (NAfME) has created a new program that combines music AND Common Core. What a sour note! NAfME’s name for this new idea? “Broader Minded”.  Here’s an excerpt from the press release,Broader MindedTM cites benefits such as skills and personal attributes like self-discipline, reflective learning, and emotional awareness—skills that allow individuals to maximize both their personal success and their contributions to the 21st century workforce.” If you’ve not heard of “Broader Minded”, the release is about 1 year old. See the entire press release: http://www.nafme.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/press-release-nafme-intro-broader-mind.pdf    Website address:  BROADERMINDED.COM

Music should delight NOT groom workforces!
Music should delight NOT groom workforces!

The CCSS Perky Sales Job:

Look at the Broader Minded brochure and you’ll lots of CCSS educratic doublespeak. We’ve already seen above the ’21st century workforce’ plug from the Press Release. So, what does the colorful brochure say?  (*Note: if you missed my first article about doublespeak in CCSS, see: https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/tag/educrat/ ) Let’s see:

1) “Educating the whole child” in CCSS  language, but what about in non CCSS speak? “Teach the whole child”, according to a wonderful website I found explaining the education doublespeak says this,  “The third of the original three child-centered phrases of progressivism: ‘child-centered schooling,’ ‘teach the child, not the subject,’ and ‘teach the whole child.’ All three phrases enjoin the schools to take a more humane, less subject-matter-oriented position toward schooling.”

2) “Gauging Student Progress”, heard by a CCSS supporter this usually means assessments or measurable data that can be used to reward or punish entire schools. However, in real language? This phrase can be a tricky one when heard by an anti CCSS warrior. There are all kinds of ways to check a student’s progress. We know from facts and research that the types of main stream gauging usually are the most harmful. So, when considering this phrase, look into HOW the progress is to be measured.

3) “Grit”, the brochure’s use of this is, “In a high-level performance environment, hard work and dedicated practice predict success far more than innate ability. Music performance offers opportunities to fail. Students learn the value of persistence, and of working hard for an uncertain outcome.” If you’ve ever taken piano, been in chorus, marched in the band, or otherwise engaged in music in the classroom, you know ‘grit’ isn’t the aspiration you reach for.

4) “21st Century Skills” aka ‘The 4 Cs’ (Creativity, Collaboration, Critical Thinking, and Communication). Now, we know in reality, that critical thinking must involve facts. However, CCSS is limiting the type of facts our students get.  As far as the ‘collaboration’, we’ve all heard the group grades students get they don’t deserve. I can share with you that some college professors are finding students who are SO used to collaboration, they can accomplish almost nothing on their own.

To access that really fun education buzzword website: http://www.illinoisloop.org/buzzwords.html

Those Damnable Standards:

Yes, we knew we’ve arrive here, didn’t we? Be sure to enlarge the screen shot below. Visit the National Endowment for the Arts page about the CCSS Aligned Standards.

IF CCSS ruins the arts as it has more traditional subjects, we'll all be signing the blues.
IF CCSS ruins the arts as it has more traditional subjects, we’ll all be signing the blues.

How can you trace the CCSS to the National Endowment? If you access the NE’s website, look in the middle of the page. Look for the words, “Final Public View…” at the end of the short paragraph is a website link. Click there. Once there, look down the left hand menu. See the “College Board’s” section? Great. Do you see the 21st Century Skills Gap? Do you see the Arts and CC?. You’ll want the pdf College Board has made available, NCCAS P21 Report (it links the Arts, the National Endowment, College Board, and P21 (Partnership for 21st Century Skills) to Common Core. The next pdf you’ll need is the “Phase II” of the College Board’s research. At the end of this one, you get a chart showing where the CCSS and the Arts Standards are now co-joined. See: Common Core phase 2 final report 7 25 14

In case you didn’t know it, the National Endowment for the Arts is a federal government agency. It receives its money from the U.S. Congress. According to their 2013 Annual Report, here’s what they did with the money, “The NEA’s fiscal year (FY) 2013 budget was $138,383,218. The NEA awarded 2,152 grants in nearly 16,000 communities in every Congressional district in the country. More than 38 million Americans, including seven million children and youth, attended a live arts event supported by the NEA. These events included approximately 70,000 concerts, readings, and performances and 1,600 exhibitions. Internationally, 74 U.S. professional arts organizations and more than 1,200 artists provided performances, exhibits, and other arts activities in 55 countries.”

Think about it this way, that’s a lot of money to spread Common Core in the guise of a song, a dance, a picture. What a tragedy for us all.