Donna Collins, Supporting Arts Education is Essential, Opinion Shaper, June 6, 2010, available at http://www.zanesvilletimesrecorder.com/article/20100606/OPINION02/6060349.
Education in the arts prepares students for careers. Americans for the Arts reported in 2009 that nationally there are 612,095 businesses in the U.S. involved in the creation or distribution of the arts that employ 2.98 million people — 4.3 percent of all businesses and 2.2 percent of all employees. The arts mean careers and business.
The arts are recognized as a core subject, which places arts education at the same level of importance as language arts, mathematics, science, social studies and foreign languages. The arts are part of the core.
Arts education programs are an instructional opportunity to improve student achievement. The Ohio Revised Code and Operating Standards for Ohio’s Schools require a curriculum that includes fine arts, including music and graduation requirements that include the arts. The arts help close the achievement gap.
Scientific research supports the effectiveness of arts education to help students learn. Critical Links: Learning in the Arts and Student Academic and Social Development, Arts Education Partnership, June 2002, is a compendium that examines the effectiveness of arts education to strengthen reading and math skills, improve student behavior and reduce truancy, keep students in school, build oral language skills, enhance cognitive development, develop creative thinking skills and transfer learning in the arts to other areas of learning. The arts improve cognitive skills.
Arts education is an effective way to “level the playing field” for students from disadvantaged circumstances. The arts reach students who are disengaged with school; often provide a reason for students to stay in school; and reach students with different learning styles. Success in the arts then transfers to learning in other areas, transforms the environment for learning, challenges students who are bored and complacent and connects students with the real world of work. The arts reach students.
Arts education programs teach students a variety of workplace skills that lead to economic independence. The skills and knowledge learned through the arts, including creative thinking, problem solving and communication skills, enhance work force preparedness for all students. These skills help students land competitive careers in communication, entertainment and technology industries. The arts prepare students for work.
The arts have a positive impact on students over their lifetime. According to The State of the Arts Report 2001, prepared by the Ohio Arts Council, “Research demonstrates that exposure to the arts will improve a child’s creativity, self-esteem and overall capacity for learning. Further, the role that the arts play in the life of a child directly correlates to the likelihood that the child will be involved in the arts as an adult.” The arts impact students for a lifetime.
It’s time to start the conversation and challenge ourselves to do more in support of arts education for our children.