Wednesday, June 21, 2023

On Tuesday, May 16th, Congresswoman Ann Kuster (D-NH-02) introduced the Early STEAM Achievement Act (H.R. 3374) which aims to strengthen STEAM education for children ages eight and under. The legislation would establish a competitive grant program within the Department of Health and Human Services to support early childhood STEAM programs and provide professional development in STEAM education for teachers. Americans for the Arts and Americans for the Arts Action Fund endorse this legislation and will continue working with arts advocates to build support among members of Congress.

STEAM education (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) is critical to meeting the demands of a 21st Century workforce in the U.S. Yet data from the Stanford Center for Educational Policy shows that an achievement gap between disadvantaged students and their more affluent peers begins before students enter kindergarten. To address this gap, the grants will go towards:

  • Professional development relating to early childhood STEAM activities.

  • Materials and equipment necessary to carry out early childhood STEAM activities.

  • Establishing partnerships with colleges and universities to provide training in early childhood STEAM activities for teachers.

“We thank Rep Kuster for her leadership in introducing the Early STEAM Achievement Act. The value of early STEAM education is clear: students benefit by developing and building a range of hard and soft skills in STEAM projects, including creative thinking and methods of inquiry and investigation, along with persistence and resilience," said Nolen V. Bivens, President and CEO of Americans for the Arts. "The Early STEAM Achievement Act would provide much-needed resources to local arts agencies, community partners, and higher education institutions to engage in STEAM programming that both taps into a child’s natural curiosity and creativity and equips teachers to foster those skills which are critical to the future workforce.”

This legislation reinforces an essential part of Americans for the Arts’ mission to expand access to the arts and arts education, and commitment to advance equity through legislative advocacy.