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Opinion: Get Arts Education Off the Back Burner

Opinion: Get Arts Education Off the Back Burner

"Much like marketing is the first department to be cut back when a business has to downsize, the arts education departments are the first to lose funding when schools are in trouble," says author, CEO and Huffington Post contributor Marc Joseph.

According to Joseph and many more with a familiarity of the arts' place in education, this needs to stop. Arts education needs a reinvigoration, they say, as it provides a necessary skill set for the futures of students.

Certainly, research frequently supports the benefits that arts education has on other desired skills.

"Research by the NEA found that at-risk students who have access to the arts show better academic results, better workforce opportunities and more civic engagement. They found that low socioeconomic status (SES) students who had a history of arts involvement in the eighth grade were more likely to have plans to earn a college education (74 percent) than other students (43 percent)," Joseph said.

Joseph discusses an example of an exemplary model arts program that started in his home state, Arizona, in the Tucson Unified School District. The program, which was developed after ongoing research into the correlation of brain development and music, is called Opening Minds through the Arts (OMA) and integrates art and core curriculum for students in K-8.

"Each school has an Arts Integration Specialist and a team of seven artists working alongside classroom teachers, adapting each lesson to support teaching of core content and knowledge. In addition, the children learn to play the recorder, violin, a wind instrument and keyboard," Joseph said.

The program has received national attention and recognition as it has resulted in great student achievement since its implementation.

Joseph calls on volunteers throughout the country to help get arts education off school districts' back burners as a result of being preoccupied with test results and racing to be better at providing STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) education. For those adults who cannot volunteer time into developing arts education in districts, he provides a list of several organizations to donate to that focus on enriching the arts in schools.

"Arts education matters. People exposed to the arts play a significant role in the continued innovation of the U.S. The arts are an essential part of our heritage and vital in what makes us human and separates us from other creatures," he said.

Read his full post here and comment with your thoughts below.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

08/04/2015

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