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 all four disciplines: dance, 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.
  • As they complete their second year of the Principals Arts Leadership (PAL) program, Black Diamond Elementary has already noticed significant positive change amongst their students: attendance has improved, students are more highly engaged in school activities, there’s been a marked decrease in disciplinary issues and academic achievement is on the rise.

    When asked what she attributes these changes to, Principal Gerrie Garton has one answer: the arts.

    Principal Garton shared these improvements with the Enumclaw School Board, as well as the school’s involvement with the PAL program, which has helped prepare her to lead the staff towards building art-focused curriculum in all subjects.

    Learn more about Black Diamond Elementary’s success through the arts in the Enumclaw Patch, and read ArtsEd Washington’s interview with Principal Garton about how PAL has transformed the school.

    Want to enroll your school in PAL?  Apply for Fall 2012!

    Learn More →