Rediscovering the value of the arts in U.S. public schools

Posted on: October 20, 2014

In the October-November issue of State Legislatures Magazine, Sarah Shelton reports on the Cole Arts and Science Academy, a Denver elementary school where students are “working in groups with professional musicians to orchestrate a concert from start to finish” as part of the Colorado Symphony’s Very Young Composers Program. As a way to better “meet the needs of its diverse and constantly changing student population … the school launched the Very Young Composers program this year with its third graders…. The Very Young Composers program … is thriving in New York City public schools in partnership with the New York Philharmonic and is slowly finding its way into other urban areas.” The article notes that research has shown participation in the arts can lead to improvements for students, especially in schools “where family income and achievement levels are very low,’ ” and that Americans for the Arts is launching a three-year pilot program this fall in ten states to strengthen arts education efforts. Additionally, the Wallace Foundation “has been working with nonprofits and selected school districts to overcome the decline in public school arts education that began in the late 1970s” and “has funded efforts in urban areas to introduce more and stronger classroom arts instructions, and is supporting the Boston Public Schools’ Arts Expansion Initiative and Dallas’ Thriving Minds effort.”

Posted October 20, 2014

Pictured: Students in the Colorado Symphony’s Very Young Composers Program