New Report on Art and Music Classes-Alarming!

A bleak picture emerged from a recent report by the U.S. Department of Education on the state of arts education.

Fewer public elementary schools are offering visual arts, dance and drama classes than a decade ago, a decline many attribute to budget cuts and an increased focus on math and reading. The percentage of elementary schools with a visual arts class declined from 87 to 83 percent.

Music at the elementary and secondary school levels remained steady, though there were declines at the nation’s poorest schools.

Music and Arts classes are still out of reach for many. While 100 percent of high schools where 76 percent or more students qualify for free or reduced lunch — a key indicator of poverty — had a music class in the 1999-2000 school year, only 81 percent did a decade later.

See link to article in Star Tribune:

http://www.startribune.com/nation/145804075.html

Apparently, in many states, we aren’t playing to what we know works relative to Music and Art classes:

1.  The cognitive advantages students have from participating in highly structured, highly rigorous Music and Art classes are statistically significant as revealed by numerous high quality research studies and reports.

2.  School districts and states can conduct far more feasibility studies, efficiency studies, and go farther in trimming regulatory departments and non-core areas (such as student transportation) to ease the ill-effects of tight funding on direct-to-student offerings, especially those that offer such incredible benefits such as high quality Music and Art classes.

3.  Social benefits are not as well-studied as the academic benefits of Music and Art classes; however, any in-tune parent knows the advantages gained in a childhood steeped in Music, Art, Theater, Sports, Dance, etc.

I am deeply disappointed by the findings of this new UDOE report.

JW

P.S.  That wasn’t a swipe at student transportation-it is important for schools, districts, and states to offer.  I doubt there is a school transportation department where more efficiencies cannot be found (and implemented without cutting services to students).

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