SEEN Magazine Cover
  • "We continuously are inundated with innumerable visual images and messages on television, computers, digital communications devices, and in the printed media. Neuroscience has shown that a significant portion of the human brain is devoted to understanding visual stimulation and to decoding visual messages we receive through our sense of vision. We do this by using all of our higher order thinking skills, memory, and education. In our contemporary society, the visual arts and dependence upon visual imagery is essential in communicating and understanding information we need to live our lives. In order to fully understand visual imagery and its meaning, it is essential that all people receive an arts infused education. Such an education enables people to become informed citizens, critical thinkers, creative problem solvers and productive members of society."

    "One of the hallmarks of quality visual arts education is its focus on creativity. Students in art classrooms at all instructional levels are routinely called upon to use their creativity to solve problems and to express their ideas. Art teachers are steeped in the knowledge and skills that foster creativity and they use the visual arts curriculum to enable their students to explore their own creative powers. Nurturing and developing students’ creative capacities are vitally important for advancement in the workforce and for maintaining America’s leadership role in the world."

    F. ROBERT SABOL, Ph.D. President, National Art Education Association
    Southeast Education Network

Champions of Change
  • "The ultimate challenge for American education is to place all children on pathways toward success in school and in life . Through engagement with the arts, young people can better begin lifelong journeys of developing their capabilities and contributing to the world around them . The arts teach young people how to learn by giving them the first step: the desire to learn. Champions of Change: The Impact of the Arts on Learning also shows that the arts can play a vital role in learning how to learn, an essential ability for fostering achievement and growth throughout their lives."

    "Why is American education in such flux? In simplest terms, the reason is because America is in transition. We are a more diverse society facing daunting demands from global social and technological innovation. The American economy is shifting from a manufacturing-driven engine to a services-driven enterprise. If young Americans are to succeed and to contribute to what Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan describes as our “economy of ideas,” they will need an education that develops imaginative, flexible and tough-minded thinking. The arts powerfully nurture the ability to think in this manner."

    "Champions of Change: The Impact of the Arts on Learning provides new and important findings on actual learning experiences involving the arts. The report which follows presents these research findings, complete with ground-breaking quantitative and qualitative data and analysis, as articulated by leading American educational researchers. These researchers investigated the content, process, and results of learning in and through the arts. Perhaps what makes their findings so significant is that they all address ways that our nation’s educational goals may be realized though enhanced arts learning. As the researchers discovered, learning in the arts can not only impact how young people learn to think, but also how they feel and behave."

    "The American public is demanding more than ever from our schools, and rightly so. Parents and other caregivers want to equip young people for professionally and personally rewarding careers, and they recognize that to do so we must give them greatly enriched experiences. As these researchers have confirmed, young people can be better prepared for the 21st century through quality learning experiences in and through the arts."

    Richard Riley - Secretary, Department of Education

    Americans for the Arts

The Arts and Achievement in At-Risk Youth Cover
  • "Eighth graders who had high levels of arts engagement from kindergarten through elementary school showed higher test scores in science and writing than did students who had lower levels of arts engagement over the same period."

    "Students who had arts-rich experiences in high school were more likely than students without those experiences to complete a calculus course.  Also, students who took arts courses in high school achieved a slightly higher grade-point average (GPA) in math than did other students."

    "In two separate databases, students who had arts-rich experiences in high school showed higher overall GPAs than did students who lacked those experiences."

    "High school students who earned few or no arts credits were five times more likely not to have graduated than students who earned many arts credits."

    "Both 8th-grade and high school students who had high levels of arts engagement were more likely to aspire to college than were students with less arts engagement."

    "Arts-engaged high school students enrolled in competitive colleges — and in four-year colleges in general — at higher rates than did low-arts-engaged students."

    "Students who had intensive arts experiences in high school were three times more likely than students who lacked those experiences to earn a bachelor’s degree. They also were more likely to earn “mostly A’s” in college."

    James S. Catterall (University of California Los Angeles) with Susan A. Dumais (Louisiana State University) and Gillian Hampden-Thompson (University of York, U.K.) 
    The Arts and Achievement in At-Risk Youth

Staying in School Cover
  • "Beyond the traditional benefits that an arts education provides — the opportunity to learn to play an instrument, to express oneself through dance and movement, to develop creative and critical thinking skills and the ability to work collaboratively with peers — the arts cut across learning styles and language barriers and engage students who might otherwise be uninterested in school and on a path to dropping out. The arts give students something to look forward to, and in New York City, a school system with one of the lowest graduation rates in the country, engagement is critical."

    "The findings suggest that both locally and nationally, we need to take into account the benefits of arts education when addressing the graduation crisis and improving struggling high schools. Strategies that rely on intervention only when students are on the verge of dropping out are insufficient. Relying on a credit recovery process or “discharging” the habitually truant to mask a portion of systemic failure does not contribute to school improvement."

    "Curriculum and instruction do matter — and participation in the arts has been shown to produce positive outcomes for students. School and education leaders would be well advised to expand their approach to school reform by providing a greater array of course offerings and resources to support learning in and through the arts."

    "This is true not only for high schools. Students at all grade levels benefit from a robust arts education. Indeed, for students to fully reap the benefits of high school arts instruction, it is critical that they build on a solid foundation of knowledge and understanding that comes with coursework in earlier grades."

    Douglas Israel, Director of Research and Policy, The Center for Arts Education
    Staying in School

The Arts and Dropout Prevention
  • "Studies have shown that an arts education not only lowers dropout, but improves academic outcomes, and develops social-emotional skills. While research continues to illuminate those relationships, educators can more intentionally use dropout prevention strategies to enhance arts education and its positive outcomes. Further, we must not fail to create career pathways for students of the arts—career pathways that provide even more reason to stay in school for students confidently moving toward a bright future."

    "The evidence shows that schools with vibrant arts programs have more student attachment and engagement to school as well as higher graduation rates. Administrators and decision makers need to more clearly understand the role that the arts can play in addressing a wide range of educational issues. As research methodology becomes more sophisticated, and more detailed longitudinal data is available, great arts education programs will begin to reveal the how and why related to outcomes. In the meantime, we need to see the at-risk student not in an individual academic or social service silo, but rather as a whole child, with a multiplicity of needs and with unique interests and attributes. Arts educators, school administrators, and education policymakers must be at the table together when issues of dropout prevention, student engagement, and supports for all students to succeed are discussed. It is imperative and in the best interests of students and society that arts education be considered both as a key asset in dropout prevention planning and as a vital part of each child’s education."

    Kimberly Brown, PhD., National Dropout Prevention Center/Network, Clemson University
    The Arts and Dropout Prevention: The Power of Art to Engage

Preparing Students for the Next America
  • "The arts prepare students for success in work.  Arts education develops thinking skills and capacities key to success in the 21st Century workforce.  Arts education: Equips students to be creative.  Arts education develops creativity, one of the top five skills employers prize for the 21st Century.  Students receiving an arts-rich education perform better on assessments of creativity than do students receiving little or no arts education.  Performing arts students, for example, show greater flexibility and adaptability in thinking than their peers; Strengthens problem solving ability.  The arts develop reasoning skills that prepare students to solve problems.  Students who study the arts, for example, score higher than their peers on tests measuring the ability to analyze information and solve complex problems, and are more likely to approach problems with patience and persistence; Builds collaboration and communication skills.  In the arts, students learn to articulate their intentions, receive and offer constructive criticism, and listen actively to others’ ideas.  Art making allows students to experience what it feels like to be active members of a community and to work as a team to determine and achieve common goals; Increases capacity for leadership.  Students who participate in the arts develop leadership skills, including decision-making, strategy building, planning, and reflection.  They also prepare to use these skills effectively by developing a strong sense of identity and confidence in their ability to affect the world around them in meaningful ways."

    "The arts prepare students for success in life.  Arts education prepares students to engage meaningfully in their communities.  Arts education: Strengthens perseverance.  Arts education develops students’ capacity to persist in the face of a challenge.  Through arts study, students improve in their ability to turn barriers into opportunities, overcome difficulty in completing complex tasks, and sustain attention.  In a longitudinal study of 25,000 secondary school students, those with higher involvement in the arts scored better on measures of persistence than their peers with lower arts involvement; Facilitates cross-cultural understanding.  Arts experiences foster pro-social behaviors and social tolerance that help prepare students for life in an increasingly global and culturally diverse world.  Ensemble performance, community mural painting, and other group arts experiences in which participants are from diverse backgrounds demonstrate particular value for developing crosscultural understanding; Builds community and supports civic engagement.  Arts programs foster a sense of community among participants that supports their personal, artistic, civic, and social development.  They also offer a vehicle for effecting change in the surrounding community.  Students who have had an arts-rich education volunteer more often and exhibit greater civic engagement than other students; Fosters a creative community.  Students who study the arts in their school years are more likely to engage with the arts in later life as consumers, performers, or creators than their peers who receive no arts education.  Additionally, researchers find that the more art forms students study, the greater their arts participation in adulthood."

    Lauren Stevenson, Ph.D., Principal of Junction Box Consulting, and the Arts Education Partnership


How the Arts Benefit Student Achievement
  • "Learning experiences in the arts contribute to the development of academic skills, including the areas of reading and language development, and mathematics."

    "Arts learning experiences contribute to the development of certain thinking, social and motivational skills that are considered basic for success in school, work, and life.  These fundamental skills encompass a wide range of more subtle, general capacities of the mind, self-perceptions, and social relationships.  Thinking skills (sometimes referred to as cognitive skills) is a broad term that refers to the operation of various thought processes.  Reasoning ability, intuition, perception, imagination, inventiveness, creativity, problem-solving skills, and expression are among the thought processes associated with the study of the arts."

    "The arts nurture a motivation to learn by emphasizing active engagement, disciplined and sustained attention, persistence and risk taking, among other competencies.  Participation in the arts also is an important strategy for engaging and motivating students at risk of dropping out of high school and for those with special needs... "

    "Learning in the arts is comprehensive in the true sense of the word: All three common definitions are applicable.  Integration of the arts as a critical component of the school curriculum affords students a complete and well-rounded education.  The benefits associated with study of the arts are inclusive of all students, although they can be greatest for those who are educationally or economically disadvantaged.  And, an arts-rich learning environment can have far-reaching effects that extend to the entire school and surrounding community.  The arts help create the kind of learning environment conducive to teacher and student success by fostering teacher innovation, a positive professional culture, community engagement, increased student attendance, effective instructional practice and school identity."

    "The evidence is clear: study of the arts contributes to student achievement and success.  Its multiple benefits are academic, basic and comprehensive.  What is less clear is how to ensure that all students have the opportunity to learn about and experience the arts in school.  Despite convincing research and strong public support, the arts remain on the margins of education, often the last to be added and the first to be dropped in times of strained budgets and shifting priorities."

    Published by the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies in collaboration with the Arts Education Partnership
    Critical Evidence: How the Arts Benefit Student Achievement

Reinvesting in Arts Education
  • "Education in the arts is more important than ever.  In the global economy, creativity is essential.  Today’s workers need more than just skills and knowedge to be productive and innovative participants in the workforce.  Just look at the inventors of the iPhone and the developers of Google: they are innovative as well as intelligent.  Through their combination of knowledge and creativity, they have transformed the way we communicate, socialize, and do business.  Creative experiences are part of the daily work life of engineers, business managers, and hundreds of other professionals. 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.  Reinvesting in Arts Education makes a compelling case for arts education and the essential role it will play in preparing students for success in the knowledge and innovation economy.  This report shows us the link between arts education and achievement in other subjects.  It documents that the process of making art –– whether is it written, performed, sculpted, photographed, filmed, danced, or painted –– prepares children for success in the workforce not simply as artists, but all professions.  Most importantly, it makes a compelling argument for creating arts-rich schools and engaging artists in ways that complement the study of other subjects such as literature, history, science, and mathematics."

    "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.  The study of drama, dance, music, and the visual arts helps students explore realities, relationships, and ideas that cannot be conveyed simply in words or numbers.  The ability to perform and create in the fine arts engenders innovative problem-solving skills that students can apply to other academic disciplines and provides experiences working as a team.  Equally important, arts instruction supports success in other subjects. Visual arts instruction improves reading readiness, and learning to play a musical instrument or to master musical notation helps students to succeed in math.  Reading, math, and writing require students to understand and use symbols –– and so does assembling shapes and colors in a portrait or using musical notes to learn fractions.  Experiences in the arts are valuable on their own, but they also enliven learning of other subjects, making them indispensable for a complete education in the 21st Century."

    Arne Duncan, U.S. Secretary of Education
    Reinvesting in Art Education