Happy Arts in Education Week! In a recent Huffington Post blog, Marc Joseph, CEO/President and Founder of DollarDays International, a wholesale distribution company, discusses the importance of arts education for developing critical and creative thinking skills in order to foster innovation.
Joseph cites a study conducted by the University of Kansas, which showed elementary schools that had superior music education programs scored 22 percent higher in English and 20 percent higher in math on standardized tests, compared to schools with low-quality music programs. He also refers to research from the NEA that shows that at-risk students who have access to the arts show better academic results, better workforce opportunities, and more civic engagement.
In Joseph’s home state of Arizona, the Tucson Unified School District’s Opening Minds through the Arts program is putting the research into practice by using the arts to help teach reading, writing, math, and science. According to Joseph, the program has gained national recognition from the U.S. Department of Education, Harvard Project Zero and the Arts Education Partnership.
“Arts education departments are the first to lose funding when schools are in trouble,” Joseph says. “This is evident just by looking at the history of our government's National Endowment for the Arts program: back in 1992, we were funding it at $176 million a year and now it's only $146 million. Contrary to what many of our political leaders think, the arts in school are essential to creating the innovative workforce of tomorrow.”
Photo courtesy of Opening Minds through the Arts. The photo shows students from Corbett Elementary in Tucson Unified School District. Opening Minds through the Arts team members Kimberly Chaffin (soprano), Juan Aguirre (baritone), and Gregory Reynolds (accompanist) worked with these students.