Cuts to arts & music education: not a pretty picture
Published June 2011 Voice
At a time of proposed cuts to school funding and increased emphasis on student achievement and standardized test scores, the elimination of arts and music classes in public schools is both counterintuitive and detrimental to student progress.
Research shows that arts and music classes, especially when integrated into other subjects like math, reading, and history, boost student achievement and test scores.
The College Board reported last year that high school students taking four years of arts classes scored an average of 91 points higher on the SAT than students who took only a half year or less of arts courses.
Additional research by The National School Boards Association and Americans for the Arts found that young people enrolled in intensive arts programs are more likely to be recognized for school attendance, academic achievement, student government, creative writing, and math and science fairs.
Yet arts and music programs are among the first to be eliminated in the face of budget cuts.
“The worst thing that could happen to public education would be to cut arts classes, in favor of more time for math, science, and reading,” said Debbie Turici, member of the PSEA Board of Directors and chair of the PSEA Fine Arts Caucus. “Employers are looking for creative young people when recruiting for 21st century jobs. Young people exposed to the arts will be better positioned to get these jobs. We can't outsource creativity; we must make sure that all students have access to arts and music education.”
The link between arts and academic achievement also appears in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (No Child Left Behind) passed by Congress in 2002. The legislation includes arts education as a “core academic subject.” The Pennsylvania School Code states that students should receive arts and music courses, though they are not mandated.
Visit www.psea.org/schoolfunding to contact your legislators to urge them to make sure schools have fair and equitable funding to continue arts and music education, and other programs that help students succeed.