So the STEM movement (science, technology, engineering, and math), when I first hear of it, made me do an imaginary eye roll. While I find nothing wrong with these disciplines, indeed they are necessary, I find a further emphasis on black and white numbers (which must imply a deemphasis on ambiguous and grey humanities) to be another simplified solution to problems in education.
My knowledge of STEM has expanded a bit since I first heard of it, and it is encouraged by articles like this. Project-based learning based in engineering fields is certainly something my constructivist, student-centered self can support.
I do have to wonder, however, if "these niche schools are built on project-based learning, critical thinking and collaboration," as the article states, why is this a construction from science, technology, engineering, and math? Is this a function not of those disciplines, but just of good teaching? Can we not employ those foci universally? Furthermore, project-based learning, critical thinking, and collaboration are fundamentally present in the arts. It is not something you can add in to arts teaching. It IS arts teaching, in nearly all formats that arts teaching can take.
If changing STEM to STEAM calls further attention to arts education, then fantastic. But it seems to me that there is a much bigger message here, and we are just dressing up fundamental disciplines in a way that is sounds educationally fashionable today, speaking to the what and not the how.