The Importance of Art in Education

2008 Arts Report CardYesterday the National Assessment of Educational Progress released the 2008 Arts Report Card. This survey and assessment compared 8th grade students in 2008 with those in 1997. Click here to view a sample question in the study then test yourself.

Here are a few of the findings in Visual Arts:

  • “Students eligible for National School Lunch Program have lower average responding score in visual arts than those who were not eligible. There is a 29-point score gap between the groups.”
  • “Eighth-graders in private schools have higher average creating task score in visual arts than students in public schools.”

Additional insight into the study can be found in a New York Times article.

Arne Duncan, U.S. Secretary of Education, perhaps summed it up best:

“This Arts Report Card should challenge all of us to make K-12 arts programs more available to America’s children and youth. Such programs not only engage students’ creativity and academic commitment today, but they uniquely equip them for future success and fulfillment. We can and should do better for America’s students.”

This study reminded me of my unofficial job as an advocate for the arts. The TeacherTube video below makes a great case for supporting the arts in every community.
Arts advocacy articles you may find useful:
Age of the Right Brain
Visual Interaction with Art Boosts Academic Achievement
Why Arts Education is Crucial, and Who’s Doing It Best
Arts Appear to Play a Role in Brain Development
Three Rs Are Essential, but Don’t Forget the A – the Arts
Technology Makes Art Education a Bigger Draw

Update 6/17/09: NAEA, Maximizing The Nation’s Arts Report Card - Great review of 2008 Arts Report Card with key findings and links to news press articles.

Theresa McGee

Hello! My name is Theresa McGee and I am a National Board Certified Art Teacher and Apple Distinguished Educator teaching in Hinsdale, Illinois. My curriculum is structured around creative thinking and technology integration into the learning process. I have authored eighteen articles for the Tech4ArtEd Column in SchoolArts Magazine and several iTunes U courses for professional development. I've presented at the state and national levels including several online webinars for art educators. In 2010, I was awarded Illinois Elementary Art Educator of the Year and in 2011 I was awarded the national PBS Teacher Innovator award. I love to share ideas that contribute to the art education profession!

1 Comment

  • October 19, 2009

    Tracy Feld

    Great, accessible listing of resources. Thanks! We need as many arrows in the quiver as possible, especially today. Gee… now if only they would add the arts to the stuff we actually MEASURE in NCLB (or…you know…. just GET RID OF NCLB), we might be able to get some actual $$$.

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