Art Matters

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 “A new report by a presidentially appointed committee on arts education makes the case that art education not only helps young people find their voice but also is an effective tool in improving student achievement in all subjects. It even ends up helping the private sector too….

What the report advocates makes a great deal of sense, especially in an era when the arts have been given short shrift in a rush to concentrate on subjects that are measured by standardized tests, especially math and reading, and education funding has been cut…

The report strains to discuss research that attempts to connect arts education with student achievement, because today, somehow, we have to have “research” that proves things that are self-evident.

If you have ever watched kids learn, you know that engaging them through the arts is much easier than trying to get them to memorize facts. It’s a no-brainer to infuse arts in learning across the disciplines, but, because there is no standardized test attached to it — at least not quite yet — it is looked on as less important…

So this is where we are today: Not only do advocates find themselves in the defensive position of having to “prove” the value of arts education in relation to test scores, but the whole exercises belittles the importance of creativity as a value necessary to the development of young people who are going to become active participants in American civic life…”

Source: “Report: Why we need arts education (not only to improve test scores)” Valerie Strauss, The Answer Sheet, 5/20/11

 

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