Monday, August 30, 2021

A New Case for Arts Education

Since 2001's passage of the No Child Left Behind Act, schools across the country have seen significant cuts in art class and fine arts education as districts pursued a myopic focus on standardized test scores in reading and math. The damage to the arts and to the cognitive development of the children that schools are supposed to serve has been noticeable. For, the connection between fine arts classes and higher levels of achievement, as well as student engagement, is extensive and supported with data. 

However, for too long, the case for the arts has been promoted by only one political party and stance on the political spectrum -- the Democrats and progressive views. Now, with a recent study and article from the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative case for the arts is being made. And that's a fortunate development. AEI recently released "Reclaiming arts and culture: the fundamental importance of the fine arts.

Key Points
  • Despite overwhelming support for arts education, an increasing share of children is growing up without any exposure to the arts.
  • Empirical evidence demonstrates a causal effect associated with arts education on cognitive and noncognitive development for children, influencing their life outcomes well beyond their initial entry into the labor market.
  • Investing in the arts generates a wide array of societal benefits, including the promotion of social capital, the decline in politicization, and the influence of culture.

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