A presidential advisory panel has 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.
The report was developed over the past 18 months in response to President Barack Obama’s arts-policy platform, issued during his 2008 campaign. The committee includes a mix of public officials, such as U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Rocco Landesman, and private citizens and artists, such as musician Yo-Yo Ma and actors Edward Norton and Sarah Jessica Parker.
Research on teaching the arts suggests such instruction can have some powerful benefits beyond the specific disciplines taught, the report says, but adds that more study is needed.
“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. The advisory panel offers five recommendations to strengthen arts education:
• Build collaborations among different approaches;
• Develop the field of arts integration;
• Expand in-school opportunities for teaching artists;
• Utilize government policies to reinforce the place of the arts in K-12 education; and
• Widen the focus of evidence-gathering about arts education.
A version of this article appeared in the May 18, 2011 edition of Education Week as President’s Panel Wants Arts Studies Expanded