Posted by Jace Johnson, Vice President of Government Affairs and Public Policy
Creativity is a catalyst for student success. That’s why we are proud to support the Congressional Art Competition, an event that gives high school students across the country the opportunity to have their artwork displayed in the halls of the U.S. Capitol building, for the fourth year in a row. Since the competition began in 1982, over 650,000 students have submitted their original artwork to be considered for display. These submissions span an impressive array of artistic mediums – from drawings and paintings, to prints and graphics. The selected winners for 2016 will formally be recognized at a national ceremony today.
In an increasingly digital world, thinking creatively is necessary for developing innovative solutions to the most pressing societal problems. Adobe strives to enhance this creative thinking by supporting art and design courses taught in tandem with the conventional STEM subjects. Coding and computer science skills are undeniably critical in our increasingly interconnected and data-driven world. However, there cannot solely be a focus on the development of quantitative math and science abilities. A key component of the Congressional Art Competition is demonstrating that artistic skills are also necessary in an increasingly digitized world to express ideas in a compelling, constructive way.
As it stands, the demand for STEM workers exceeds the supply of students equipped with either skill in, or passion for, the field. With less than 20 percent of U.S. high school seniors proficient or interested in STEM, it is expected that nearly 2.4 million science and technology jobs will be left unfilled in 2018. The imaginative thinking and fresh perspectives that are fostered in art and design education, however, can help to close this gap by enhancing and diversifying students’ skillsets.
Government plays a critical role in this process. Although the United States is the current global leader in technology exports and innovation, a recent study reveals that only 29 percent of American’s surveyed rated the country’s K-12 STEM education as ‘above average’ or ‘the best in the world’. This is why policymakers should support programs that give schools adequate resources to access the most up-to-date digital software and applications along with encouraging creativity. They should also help fund the transition to cloud-based technologies that enable greater student collaboration and exchange of ideas, both inside and outside the classroom.
Our efforts to integrate creativity and software demonstrate the continued Adobe commitment to providing a more holistic, innovative STEAM education for students, teachers, and administrators. Shouldn’t government should strive to do the same?
We encourage you to take the time to be inspired by the creative work of the Congressional Art Competition district winners by following #congressionalartcompetition on Twitter.