Experts agree and studies confirm that the arts are part of a well-rounded curriculum for students that help them to open up their minds, provide access to other cultures and history, and integrate learning in core subjects into creative and imaginative thought. Yet, the arts, like so many other subjects, are being eliminated from public schools due to draconian budget cuts. Consider:
• The Pennsylvania Department of Education at one time had six fine arts and humanities advisors and now has none
• The prestigious Governor’s School for the Arts, provider of a summer enrichment program to 10,000 participants for 30 years, was cancelled in 2009 due to budget cuts
• Although mandated by the school code as core curriculum, music and arts programs have been cut in many schools
Studies demonstrate that arts education is related to higher academic performance, lower dropout rates, and increased community involvement. They also show that studying art for four or more years resulted in an increase in 50 points on the SATs over those who studied for less than one year. Arts also help to ready students for the workforce by helping them to “innovate, communicate and collaborate,” according to Jenny Hershour, Managing Director of Citizens for the Arts in Pennsylvania. In short, the arts in all forms are important to us as individuals as well as to our economic future, allowing our communities to thrive.
Learn more from the Pennsylvania Arts Education Network, a coalition of arts, education and advocacy organizations who work to strengthen support for arts education among policymakers and the public. And contact your legislators to express your point of view.