To the Editor:
I was thrilled to see the Commentary section in the Dec. 3, 2014, issue focusing on the role of the arts in learning.
As an arts-integration specialist and the author of three professional texts on integrating drama with the development of literacy skills, I was delighted to hear the voices of experts across the country declare clearly, concisely, and cogently the place the arts must hold in the tapestry of effective education.
Although each Commentary took a different slant on arts education, all five had a consistent thread: The arts promote learning through the cognitive, affective, and psychomotor domains. This is a road map to student engagement and success.
I have had the privilege of working in several schools in Maryland where John Ceschini (who contributed to the arts education package) served as principal, and I worked in several A+ schools (a school network featured in the package), including schools in Oklahoma and North Carolina.
My experience over the past 33 years working across the country in arts education has been consistent. No matter what the grade level, ability level, or English-language proficiency of the student, and regardless of the location of the school (urban, suburban, or rural), the arts open new opportunities for students to demonstrate what they truly know and understand.
Arts experiences provide teachers with fresh insights into their students, as well fresh ideas for teaching. The arts are not optional. They are essential for academic success.
Lenore Blank Kelner & Co.
Silver Spring, Md.
A version of this article appeared in the January 21, 2015 edition of Education Week as The Arts Inspire Students, Teachers, and Learning