Our Core Beliefs
SASA is driven by a core set of beliefs in all of the work we do and the relationships we build. We will not support programs or efforts that do not share these beliefs.
Promote and Embrace Effective STEM Programs
The future of the US economy is knowledge-based and depends on workers trained with STEM skills. That is why we support the expansion of STEM programs to give more students access to these activities.
We do not believe every student should go into a STEM field, but every student must be afforded the opportunity to experience STEM and choose that as their future path. Moreover, the skills students learn while participating in STEM programs will translate to any career path on which they decide. Promoting STEM engagement activities for students will increase the ability of our future workforce to effectively participate in our knowledge-based economy, regardless of their profession.
We want to remove the stigma that STEM education is hard and promote the idea that it is a collaborative problem-solving method that anyone can learn and use.
As an organization, we invite in and support students from all backgrounds. We do not believe in just one STEM program, but instead, we support any and all effective curricular and extracurricular STEM programs. We believe students, schools, and administrators should be empowered to decide what STEM program is best for them. Our drive is to make sure STEM programs are available and accessible across the nation so that all students are exposed to them.
Data-Based Decision Making
We believe in using objective data-based decision-making to evaluate STEM programs, legislation, and outcomes. We believe in using data above politics and partisan ideologies to create policy. SASA supports applying the scientific method to solve problems.
Democracy Requires an Engaged, Educated Citizenry
We believe that the strength of our nation and its democracy requires an engaged and educated citizenry. That is why, as an association, we promote student civic engagement to ensure strong participation in our democracy for future generations. We believe it is essential that our members understand how government works to be able to effectively influence the process.
Furthermore, we believe that creating an engaged citizenry requires building relationships with policymakers and elected officials.
STEM is Not Exclusive
Nothing in our organization’s platform excludes the arts and humanities or STEAM. Real-world careers are interdisciplinary. The application of STEM concepts to the arts and humanities is not a new idea and has led to profound human progress, from people such as Leonardo Da Vinci to the Wright Brothers. STEM programs teach students how to problem-solve by thinking critically, creatively, and collaboratively. These skills can and should be used to tackle real-world problems in every industry.
We believe that STEM and the arts are not mutually exclusive, and we do not support the promotion of STEM at the expense of other programs. STEM is an interdisciplinary approach to problem-solving, but it is not the only thing.
SASA calls on states, Congress, and the Administration to meaningfully incorporate policies that ensure every student has equitable access to STEM engagement programs. Legislation and regulations must:
- Ensure that all schools have adequate funding to provide STEM-based programs, especially in underserved and underrepresented communities.
- Align teacher professional development requirements and programs with participation in STEM activities.
- Increase funding for grants used for STEM engagement activities at every level, including raising funding for the Student Support and Academic Enrichment (SSAE) Grants in ESSA Title IV-A at its authorized level of $1.6 billion.