Teaching Drama

It’s Arts in Education Week


Today we join our American friends in celebrating Arts in Education Week.

I’ve reproduced the text of the resolution below. They make some very compelling arguments in favour of arts in education. They make arts in education out to be a very big deal. Critical to the success of the nation!

But at this point, it’s just lip service, isn’t it? If the statements below (e.g. the arts provide the skills and knowledge students need to develop the creativity and determination necessary for success in the global information age) are truly being felt by the nation’s leaders then why are arts classes getting cut? Why are arts teachers worried about losing their jobs?

So, yes, I fully support arts in education week. I would just love to congress put its money where its mouth is.

Arts teachers out there in the trenches, I salute you. Your work is vital and you’re fighting the good fight.


CONCURRENT RESOLUTION

Expressing support for designation of the week beginning on the second Sunday of September as Arts in Education Week.

Whereas arts education, comprising a rich array of disciplines including dance, music, theatre, media arts, literature, design, and visual arts, is a core academic subject and an essential element of a complete and balanced education for all students;

Whereas according to Albert Einstein, ”After a certain high level of technical skill is achieved, science and art tend to coalesce in esthetics, plasticity, and form. The greatest scientists are artists as well.”;

Whereas arts education enables students to develop critical thinking and problem solving skills, imagination and creativity, discipline, alternative ways to communicate and express feelings and ideas, and cross-cultural understanding, which supports academic success across the curriculum as well as personal growth outside the classroom;

Whereas the nonprofit arts sector is an economic engine and plays a significant role in the economic health of communities large and small with direct expenditures of wages and benefits as well as goods and services;

Whereas to succeed in today’s economy, students must masterfully use words, images, sounds, and movement to communicate;

Whereas as the Nation works to strengthen its foothold in the 21st century global economy, the arts equip students with a creative, competitive edge;

Whereas the arts provide the skills and knowledge students need to develop the creativity and determination necessary for success in the global information age;

Whereas where schools and communities are delivering high quality learning opportunities in, through, and about the arts for children, extraordinary results occur;

Whereas according to a study by the Arts Education Partnership entitled Third Space: When Learning Matters, schools with large populations of students in economic poverty can be transformed into vibrant hubs of learning when the arts are infused into the culture and curriculum;

Whereas studies have also found that eighth graders from underresourced environments who are highly involved in the arts have better grades, less likelihood of dropping out by grade ten, have more positive attitudes about school, and are more likely to go onto college;

Whereas attracting and retaining the best teachers is vital and can be achieved by ensuring that schools embrace the arts, becoming havens for creativity and innovation;

Whereas arts education has the power to make students want to learn not just within the arts, but other areas of study;

Whereas art is integral to the lives of United States citizens and essential to the health and vitality of communities and the Nation; and

Whereas the week beginning on the second Sunday of September would be an appropriate week to designate as Arts in Education Week: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), That Congress?

  1. supports the designation of Arts in Education Week;
  2. calls on governors, mayors, and other elected officials from across the United States to issue proclamations to raise awareness of the value and importance of arts in education; and
  3. encourages the President to issue a proclamation encouraging the people of the United States to observe such week with appropriate activities.

About the author

Craig Mason

3 Comments

  • I truly believe in everything you state, however I wish Arts in Education Week was not so close to the beginning of the year.
    I taught elementary school for 19 years and middle school for 13 and I can tell you that many teachers are extremely busy just gettting their classrooms and curriculum ready for this school year. Their minds are not on the arts or anything else other than mandated focus on math, reading, science and writing.
    I truly agree that arts should be considered a basic part of our system and what is wonderful about the arts is that it can fit nicely into all the other disciplines, but sadly it’s not looked upon like that in our society. I truly believe we are taking the culture out of our education system.
    If we want more emphasis on Arts in Education Week it should be later in the year.

  • I couldn’t agree more. If we want to mine the possibilities and show the value of arts education in a demonstrable way, it’s going to involve performances, showcases, exhibitions, etc. It’s waaaaaay too early in the school year to do anything effective.

  • Those of us in DC know well the challenge of this week’s timing. Let me assure you that while those of us who work in some way with federal policy are very grateful for the federal designation given to this week, we didn’t request it and so we didn’t request the timing. Perhaps next year we’ll partner with our great supporters on the Hill for something later in the fall or into the new year.