Arts Education Talking Points

Arts Education Quick Facts

Arts education is the law in Washington state.

  • Arts education, as defined by Washington state law, includes five disciplines: dance, media arts, music, theater, and visual art.
  • Arts education is not an optional enrichment activity. In accordance with the Basic Education Act, arts education is a mandated core subject and required to be taught in Washington state schools.
  • Despite this mandate, in Washington state, ¾ of elementary students receive only two hours or less of arts education each week.

Arts learning is essential to success in school, work and life.

  • Learning in and through the arts supports an understanding across multiple academic disciplines, supporting overall school engagement. The arts nurture the critical thinking and complex problem solving that are essential in fostering a deeper understanding by applying knowledge, and making meaning of the material, rather than just memorizing.
  • Credible research has demonstrated consistently better outcomes for students highly involved in the arts including better grades, less likelihood of dropping out, and more positive attitudes about school. These same studies show that high levels of arts participation make the greatest difference for economically disadvantaged students.

Arts education should be provided fairly to all students.

  • Curriculum and instruction in the arts must be provided during regular school hours and build on learning each year, in the same way that teaching and learning happens in other core subjects.
  • Schools integrating the arts are better positioned to address achievement gaps, while schools without the arts are perpetuating educational inequities, denying students proven pathways to success.

Creative attributes are the cornerstone for achievement in the 21st Century.

  • In Washington State, creative occupations between 2006-2008 increased by 2.5%, and 100,000 creative sector jobs were reported in 2008.
  • Companies are seeking innovative employees who have the ability to imagine new services, create new opportunities, and develop inventive solutions to solve problems.
  • A Global CEO Study (6) commissioned this year by IBM found that more than 1,500 CEOs from large and small companies in 60 countries, representing 33 different industries, noted as their top answer that the most most important leadership competency needed to manage in an increasingly complex world was CREATIVITY.

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1 RCW 28A.150.210 – Basic Education Act (http://apps.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=28A.150.210 ).
2 Arts Education Research Initiative, 2009. Washington State Arts Commission (www.arts.wa.gov/education/aeri.shtml).
3 Critical Evidence, AEP (http://bit.ly/ekHVpt).
4 Creative Vitality Index (extracts), 2010, Washington State Arts Commission
5 http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/21/opinion/21friedman.html.
6 http://www-03.ibm.com/press/us/en/pressrelease/31670.wss.

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This was posted in the category Advocacy Tools.
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