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In addition to the arts in education issue site, please see ECS 2004-06 Chairman, Governor Mike Huckabee's Initiative on the Arts in Education.

A growing body of research points to the important role of the arts in improving students' achievement and preparing them for an economy that demands creative solutions to challenging problems. There is also evidence that the arts in education can increase students' engagement in learning as well as their social and civic development.

Studies over the past several years have found that the arts whether as part of the curriculum or as supplemental programs can have the following benefits:

  • Reach and increase the performance of students who often struggle to succeed in school, including disadvantaged students, English language learners, and students with disabilities

  • Provide new challenges for those students already considered successful

  • Reduce recidivism rates of incarcerated youth while strengthening their job skills and self-esteem

  • Improve cognitive skills involved in reading, language development, and mathematics; and develop problem solving and critical and creative thinking skills all of which serve students in school and in the workplace

  • Motivate students to learn and become more involved in their schools

  • Increase student attendance and engagement

  • Promote students' self-confidence and foster better relationships among students and teachers

  • Nurture the curiosity and creativity of students.

States have supported and promoted the arts in education through policies such as high school graduation requirements, standards, and assessments. These policies, however, vary across the states in their commitment level, rigor, and integration into larger efforts to improve student learning and accountability. Many states have developed more extensive programs in the arts for schools and created partnerships with state arts councils and local arts organizations.

Despite strong public support for arts programs, and despite state and federal policies aimed at encouraging inclusion of the arts in the core curriculum, such programs often fall victim to tight budgets and an emphasis on "tested" subjects.

But efforts to keep, expand, and sustain the arts in schools appear to be gaining momentum part of a larger movement to ensure that schools do not lose sight of the broader purpose of education that reaches beyond achievement in basic subjects. State policymakers, educators, and others are exploring ways to better motivate students to excel; become lifetime learners; appreciate different cultures, talents, and beliefs; and instill a sense of commitment to their communities. Further, leaders recognize the need to continually adapt school systems to prepare students for an ever-changing world.

The ECS Arts in Education issue site includes examples of state policies and activities, reports, and research studies that discuss various issues and findings, as well as other websites that link to organizations involved in the arts.

Please check out the link to former ECS Chairman, Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee's initiative on the arts in education.


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