In recent years many school districts have had to restructure their arts curriculums to meet the growing emphasis on standards that is central to most school reform. This unique collection is meant to assist educators, policymakers, grantmakers and other stakeholders by focusing on the potential benefits of arts education for students and communities alike, and providing examples of creative ways school districts are handling their constraints.

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Preparing Students for the Next America: The Benefits of an Arts Education

April 3, 2013

Every young person in America deserves a complete and competitive education that includes the arts. America's global stature, culture of innovation, and entrepreneurial spirit depend on the strength of a world-class education system. Perhaps now more than ever -- as the country becomes increasingly diverse, the world more interconnected, and the workplace more oriented around technology and creativity -- arts education is key to such a system and to ensuring students' success in school, work, and life. For this reason, the Arts Education Partnership (AEP) created -- the nation's first clearinghouse of research examining the mounting body of evidence on the benefits of an arts education. Drawing on the research in ArtsEdSearch, this bulletin offers a snapshot of how the arts support achievement in school, bolster skills demanded of a 21st century workforce, and enrich the lives of young people and communities.

Student Outcomes

What School Leaders Can Do to Increase Arts Education

September 28, 2011

Learning in and through the arts develops the essential knowledge, skills, and creative capacities all students need to succeed in school, work, and life. As the top building-level leaders, school principals play a key role in ensuring every student receives a high-quality arts education as part of a complete education. In a time of shrinking budgets and shifting priorities, what can school principals do to make and keep the arts strong in their schools? This guide offers three concrete actions school principals can take to increase arts education in their schools: A -establish a school-wide commitment to arts learning; B -create an arts-rich learning environment; and C - rethink the use of time and resources. Each action is supported with several low-cost or no-cost strategies that other school leaders have used and found to be effective -- whether it's beginning an arts program where none exists, making an existing program stronger, or preserving an arts program against future cuts. While many of the strategies are drawn from elementary schools, they are likely to be applicable in a variety of grade levels. Mounting research evidence confirms that students in schools with arts-rich learning environments academically outperform their peers in arts-poor schools. Where the arts are an integral component of the school day, they positively impact student attendance, persistence and engagement; enhance teacher effectiveness; and strengthen parent and community involvement. Research also shows school principals serve as the primary decision makers as to whether and to what extent the arts are present within a school. The Arts Education Partnership (AEP) prepared this guide, with support from the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities (PCAH). The increasingly critical role of school leaders, along with the growing body of evidence on the benefits of arts learning, summarized most recently in a new report published by the PCAH prompted the development of the guide. AEP staff reviewed the relevant literature as well as conducted personal interviews with school principals and with practitioners who work closely with principals. School principals and other leaders interested in increasing arts education in America's schools can adopt any of these actions and strategies one at a time or implement several at once. When taken together as part of an overall approach, however, their effects are more likely to be cumulative,

Funding Trends; Program Models

Music Matters: How Music Education Helps Students Learn, Achieve, and Succeed

September 20, 2011

Beyond the intrinsic value of music to cultures worldwide, education in music has benefits for young people that transcend the musical domain. The Arts Education Partnership (AEP) reviewed an extensive body of research to identify high quality, evidence-based studies that document student learning outcomes associated with an education in and through music. The results show conclusively that music education equips students with the foundational abilities to learn, to achieve in other core academic subjects, and to develop the capacities, skills and knowledge essential for lifelong success. Benefits of Music Education A. Music education prepares students to learn 1. Enhances fine motor skills 2. Prepares the brain for achievement 3. Fosters superior working memory 4. Cultivates better thinking skills B. Music education facilitates student academic achievement 1. Improves recall and retention of verbal information 2. Advances math achievement 3. Boosts reading and English language arts (ELA) skills 4. Improves average SAT scores C. Music education develops the creative capacities for lifelong success 1. Sharpens student attentiveness 2. Strengthens perseverance 3. Equips students to be creative 4. Supports better study habits and self-esteem

Student Outcomes

From Anecdote to Evidence: Assessing the Status and Condition of Arts Education at the State Level

November 1, 2006

Without solid evidence about the status and condition of arts education in the nation's public schools, it is difficult to make a convincing case for the arts. This research and policy brief draws on the experiences of five states -- Illinois, Kentucky, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Washington -- as the basis for a discussion of various approaches and methodologies for conducting statewide arts education research.

Classroom Examples

Third Space: When Learning Matters -- School Profiles & Demographics

November 15, 2005

Third Space tells the riveting story of the profound changes in the lives of kids, teachers, and parents in ten economically disadvantaged communities across the country that place their bets on the arts as a way to create great schools. The schools become caring communities where kids - many of whom face challenges of poverty, the need to learn English, and to surmount learning difficulties - thrive and succeed and where teachers find new joy and satisfaction in teaching.This document is the profiles and demographics of the schools being studied.

Classroom Examples

You Want to Be A Part of Everything: The Arts, Community, and Learning

January 27, 2005

The report features provocative testimony to youth centered and youth directed arts programs that are creating powerful and supportive communities among young people. It highlights five youth arts programs from across the country brought together at an AEP forum in September, 2003. Youth and adult representatives engaged participants in activities that reflect the role of the arts in building positive learning communities.

Classroom Examples

Creating Quality Integrated and Interdisciplinary Arts Programs

September 4, 2003

The report offers some reflection on arts integration while examining a diverse group of partnerships and a set of new important tools to aid efforts in improving arts teaching and learning across the classroom.

Classroom Examples

Critical Links: Learning in the Arts and Student Academic and Social Development

May 22, 2002

This Compendium summarizes and discusses 62 research studies that examine the effects of arts learning on students' social and academic skills. The research studies cover each of the art forms and have been widely used to help make the case that learning in the arts is academic, basic, and comprehensive.

Student Outcomes

Gaining the Arts Advantage: More Lessons from School Districts that Value Arts Education

December 1, 2000

A report from an October 2000 meeting in which 32 school districts from 19 states discussed the current status of arts education in their districts. These districts were profiled in AEP's 1999 report, Gaining the Arts Advantage: Lessons from School Districts that Value Arts Education.

Classroom Examples

Why Your Child Needs the Arts Advantage and How You Can Gain It

November 1, 2000

Highlights the findings of the two-year study Gaining the Arts Advantage: Lessons From School Districts that Value Arts Education.

Classroom Examples; Student Outcomes

Champions of Change: The Impact of the Arts on Learning

October 22, 1999

This report compiles seven major studies that provide new evidence of enhanced learning and achievement when students are involved in a variety of arts experiences.

Classroom Examples

Gaining the Arts Advantage: Lessons from School Districts that Value Education

February 23, 1999

This report features case studies and profiles of 91 school districts throughout the United States that are recognized for offering arts education throughout their schools. It identifies the critical factors that must be in place to implement and sustain comprehensive arts education and stresses the essential role of community involvement and partnerships.

Student Outcomes