What would you say if I told you that students in the arts consistently out score their non-arts peers on the SATs? Would that eyebrow you’re raising go even higher if I told you that in the last study shown (2005) students in the arts scored 56 points higher on the verbal portion of the test and 39 points higher on the math portion? Would that help move you towards becoming an advocate in your community for more arts education courses instead of fewer?
Often the myths and stereotypes of the arts lead people to think of its education as being frivolous, not as important as the sciences, perhaps. Yet the statistics prove otherwise. Students involved in the arts are four times more likely to achieve academic notice, hold school offices, win awards for writing, and even enter science fairs. School attendance for those students in the arts is three times higher than those who are not. Arts students read for pleasure more often, attend concerts and perform community service at a much higher rate than their non-arts friends. It’s also important to remember that the arts build cultural bridges which bring about greater understanding and communication. Even with this information in hand school districts and the federal goverment are continuing to cut funding to arts programs or eliminate them altogether.
As a parent, student or student advocate you can help create avenues for students to experience the arts. There are a number of organizations that can help you lobby your school board and government officials. You can also provide opportunities outside the school arena for your own student. Family trips to museums, concerts and plays are a good way to start and a great augmentation to any existing program in which your student may be participating.