In a recent article by the Associated Press, the latest study by the President’s Committee on Arts and Humanities finds that arts integration is effective for school reform. Of course, we already knew this….but it’s always nice to see it “discovered” yet again!
In the report, Education Secretary Arne Duncan writes that data demonstrates arts education improves achievement in other subjects. Visual arts instruction improves reading, and learning to play a musical instrument can improve math skills. Students engaged in the arts also had higher attendance rates.
** UPDATE – June 2nd, 2011** The extension of this study was provided to us by Eric Levin from Southern Oregon University. Please read below for more! Many thanks, Eric!
President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities Releases Report
The report from the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, Reinvesting in Arts Education: Winning America’s Future through Creative Schools, was released May 6. The report refers to research showing that schools participating in an arts integration model had consistently higher average scores on district reading and math assessments; visual arts instruction improves reading; learning to play a musical instrument can improve math skills; and students engaged in the arts have higher attendance rates. Developed in response to President Obama’s Arts Policy Campaign Platform, the report presents five recommendations to help schools incorporate the arts into other disciplines:
1. Build robust collaborations among different approaches to arts education.
2. Develop the field of arts integration.
3. Expand in-school opportunities for teaching artists.
4. Use federal and state policies to reinforce the place of arts in K-12 education.
5. Widen the focus of evidence gathering about arts education.
In the Forward, Secretary Duncan states, “To succeed today and in the future, America’s children will need to be inventive, resourceful, and imaginative. The best way to foster that creativity is through arts education… I believe that all students should have the opportunity to experience the arts in deep and meaningful ways. The opportunity to learn about the arts and to perform as artists is an essential part of a well-rounded curriculum and complete education…I encourage educators, school board members, business, and philanthropic leaders and artists to read this report and to see it as a call to action.” The panel concluded that arts education is a boon for the private sector – business leaders are looking for innovation and creativity from their employees – and is an important way to prepare today’s students for tomorrow’s careers. According to Melody Barnes, director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, “The administration recognizes the powerful role that the arts education strategies presented in this report can play in closing the achievement gap, improving student engagement, and building creativity and innovative thinking skills.”
In an article in the Huffington Post (President’s Committee Makes Strongest Case Ever for Arts Education), John M. Egers says that the report “unveiled the President’s thinking about the important connection between art and culture and creativity and innovation, and promised an agenda for reinventing education in America.”
Learn more about the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities at http://www.pcah.gov/; access the full report at http://www.pcah.gov/sites/default/files/photos/PCAH_Reinvesting_4web.pdf; read the Huffington Post article at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-m-eger/presidents-committee-make_b_858880.html; read an e-School News article about the report at http://www.eschoolnews.com/2011/05/06/new-report-cites-need-for-more-arts-integration/.
First Look at United States Department of Education Report on Arts Education
The National Center on Education Statistics (NCES), in partnership with the Office of Innovation and Improvement, completed the first survey in 10 years of the conditions of K-12 arts education. Both principals and teachers – arts specialists as well as elementary classroom teachers – were surveyed during the 2009-2010 school year. The May 2 Web-only release (A Snapshot of Arts Education in Public Elementary and Secondary Schools: 2009-10 First Look) is a preliminary report that contains selected findings on such indicators as percentages of schools that offer instruction in four arts disciplines, but only where the data describe conditions nationally. The full report, anticipated to be released at the end of 2011 or early in 2012, will reflect additional variables such as poverty levels of schools and regions of the country.
To find out more about arts integration and learn how to use this strategy in your OWN school reform, consider registering for the Arts Integration Online Class this summer!
Susan Riley is the founder and CEO of EducationCloset.com. She focuses on teacher professional development in arts integration, Common Core State Standards, 21st century learning skills, and technology. She is also a published author and frequent presenter at national conferences on Arts Integration and STEAM education.
Susan holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education from the prestigious Westminster Choir College in Princeton, NJ and a Master of Science in Education Administration from McDaniel College in Westminster, MD. She lives in Westminster, MD with her husband and daughter.