A presidential advisory panel issued a report that makes the case for expanding access to arts education in schools, arguing that the arts hold great potential to bolster student engagement and academic achievement. At the same time, the report laments that, if anything, the current trend is toward the erosion of the arts on campus.
The report gives special attention to the practice of arts integration, where subjects such as math, science, and language arts are integrated with teaching arts disciplines. (I wrote about how dance was used for that purpose last fall, including an example in Maryland where dance and science were brought together in elementary classrooms.)
Decades of research show strong and consistent links between high-quality arts education and a wide range of impressive educational outcomes,” it says. “This is true even though, as in most areas where learning is complex, the research base does not yet establish causal proof. Arts integration models, the practice of teaching across classroom subjects in tandem with the arts, have been yielding some particularly promising results in school reform and closing the achievement gap.”
And yet, the committee laments that arts education appears to be losing ground in schools.
“At the same time, due to budget constraints and emphasis on the subjects of high stakes testing, arts instruction in schools is on a downward trend,” the report says. “Just when they need it most, the classroom tasks and tools that could best reach and inspire these students-art, music, movement, and performing-are less available to them.”