Save the arts – that’s the mantra of many educators. But, after all, it could be the arts that save us.
Funding for arts education is consistently cut and decreased when budgets become tighter. Some administrators and educators don’t believe it’s as important as other subjects, and it’s incredibly more difficult to measure the effects of an arts program.
But, a presidentially-appointed committee on arts education is trying to change the perception of arts education, according to an article in the Washington Post.
The committee is arguing that arts education can help students at all levels find their voice and have a better sense of their skills. However, the committee’s main argument is that arts education can actually improve students’ achievement in all subjects.
Obama’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities recently released a report, Reinvesting in Arts Education: Winning America’s Future Through Creative Schools. The report is the first federal analysis of arts education in more than 10 years, and it took the committee 18 months to analyze the data.
The report boils down into these five recommendations for arts education.
- Build robust collaborations among different approaches to arts education
- Develop the field of arts integration
- Expand in-school opportunities for teaching artists
- Utilize federal and state policies to reinforce the place of arts in K-12 education
- Widen the focus of evidence gathering about arts education
The report's claim that arts can improve achievement in all areas caught the education world’s attention. Right now, educators are obsessed with improving students’ test scores. So, they are listening to anyone and anything that could possibly help test scores.
The report didn’t wait long to argue that more arts education will improve test scores. It jumps straight to that subject in one of the first few paragraphs of the 76-page analysis.
The report also argues that more arts education will improve students’ motivation, engagement, persistence, class attendance and enhanced problem solving, creativity, social skills and multitasking.
The report goes through great lengths to prove its claims – most of which simply stem from the basic concept that engaging in creative activities helps improve and increase cognitive abilities, which then leads directly to better test scores and achievements.