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The Congressional STEAM Caucus was approved on January 28, 2013, with the Chairs and Co-Chairs being Representative Suzanne Bonamici, and Representative Aaron Schock. Representative Bonamici represents the First Congressional District of Oregon. She is on the Committee on Education and the Workforce and the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. Representative Bonamici has made it a point throughout her career to support public education. Representative Schock represents the Eighteenth Congressional District of Illinois. He serves on the House Ways and Means Committee and serves on three Ways and Means subcommittees: Trade, Oversight, and Social Security. Representative Schock also serves on the committee on House Administration and as the Chairman of the Franking Commission.
A bipartisan team of members of Congress launched the Congressional STEAM Caucus. The STEAM caucus “aims to change the vocabulary of education to recognize the benefits of both the arts and sciences and how these intersections will benefit our country’s future generations. Caucus members will work to increase awareness of the importance of STEAM education and explore new strategies to advocate for STEAM programs. STEAM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math. While the act of launching this new caucus is radical, the idea that science and art are complimentary is not so radical. Albert Einstein wrote, “After a certain high level of technical skill is achieved, science and art tend to coalesce in esthetics, plasticity, and form. The greatest scientists are always artists as well.”
Robert Lynch, Americans for the Arts Action Fund President & CEO saluted this newly formed caucus. We work to advance the cause of arts education at the federal, state, and local levels through our professional and advocacy programs. These were Robert Lynch’s remarks on the STEAM Caucus,
“Thanks to the leadership of Representatives Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) and Aaron Schock (R-IL), the message of how the arts can help launch creativity and innovation among our nation’s students will have a proper place in the halls of Congress. Having worked with both of them on these issues, we were excited to assist in establishing this new congressional policy effort in education.”
While the Congressional Arts Caucus began its formation in the late 1970’s through the early 1980’s and is a bipartisan organization for Members of Congress who support the arts through federal initiatives, the introduction of the STEAM Caucus will cast a larger net of awareness for improving arts education. The Congressional Arts Caucus as well as the STEAM Caucus will simultaneously serve the arts community by illustrating that art can be a part of their policy solutions.
Illustration by David Horsey from Seattle pi blog.