Opinion: Arts education is critical to future job success

Posted on: January 6, 2014

In an editorial in Wednesday’s (12/31) USA Today, trumpeter/composer Wynton Marsalis and Harvard University President Drew Faust write, “We hear widespread calls for ‘outcomes’ we can measure and for education geared to specific employment needs, but many of today’s students will hold jobs that have not yet been invented, deploying skills not yet defined.… We need learning that incorporates what the arts teach us.… Playing music can be both a model and a metaphor for important aspects of the lives our children will be called upon to lead. Take, for example, Thomas Sudhof, a winner of 2013’s Nobel Prize for medicine and physiology. He attributed his discipline and depth of understanding to the mentorship of his bassoon instructor. … The arts provide a critical means of communicating across divisions and differences…. In recent years, though, we have witnessed a depressing retreat from arts education in American schools. In 1982, nearly 66% of 18-year-olds in the U.S. reported taking art classes; by 2008, the number had fallen to below 50%.… We must teach our children to be ready for a world we cannot yet know, one that will require the attitudes and understanding sparked and nurtured by the experience of the arts.”

Posted January 6, 2014