The intended audience for this essay is parents. This topic is important to them as it directly effects the health and well-being of their children. There have been many cuts to the art and music programs in schools over the past few decades, and parents should be aware of how this can negatively affect their children. Being aware of the importance of creativity in education will help parents advocate for access to the arts in school for their children.
Did you know that 72% of business leaders say that the number one skill they seek when hiring is creativity (“Arts Education,” 2018)? However, art and music are usually the first to be cut when schools are faced with financial problems, as they are not tested subjects (Wendler, 2019).
Research suggests that being exposed to the arts in school helps children develop problem-solving skills, have increased scores on standardized tests, improve socially and emotionally, and reduce dropout rates (“Arts for Life! | Why the Arts,” 2017 ), which is why arts and music should be part of the core classes in school.
Being exposed to the arts in school, whether it be drawing, painting, singing, dancing, theater, or playing an instrument, helps children develop problem-solving skills (Phillips, 2012).
A four-year research project conducted between 2006 and 2010 called “The Art of Problem-Solving,” conducted by the Guggenheim Museum, showed that participating children had stronger problem-solving skills in the areas of flexibility, resource recognition, and connection of ends and aims (Phillips, 2012).
Solomon R. Guggenheim’s program, “Learning through the Arts,” showed that participating 5th grade students who were given materials and the task of creating a chair in any way they could were more likely to be patient, continue working when encountering mistakes and follow through on the project. (“Educational research: The art of problem solving. | ArtsEdSearch,” 2010)
Having access to art education improves students’ scores on standardized tests (“Arts for Life! | Why the Arts,” 2017). Researchers from the University of California who studied a data base of 25,000 middle and high school students found that students who were involved in art classes scored higher on standardized tests than students with less involvement in art classes (“Arts for Life! | Why the Arts,” 2017).
Studies also show that high school students involved in art classes have higher SAT scores. Students involved in the arts develop better attention and memory skills which are applied to other classes and improve overall academics. (“Arts for Life! | Why the Arts,” 2017).
Students involved in the arts have improved social skills and emotional health. The National Endowment for the Arts created a report titled “The Arts in Early Childhood: Social and Emotional Benefits of Arts Participation,” which showed the importance of art in children’s lives. The report covered observations of the positive effects of visual arts, music, dance and theater over a fifteen-year period of time between 2000 and 2015. The research showed that involvement in music improved social skills such as helping, sharing and empathizing in children. (Hot Spots Extended Care Program, 2018).
Another finding of this research showed that toddlers who were able to dance and sing throughout the day were better able to regulate their emotions after a negative incident and were able to calm down after doing a drawing following a negative incident.
Taking art classes helps reduce dropout rates, especially in low socio-economic status students (“Dramatic Results MAKES a Difference in STEAM – Dramatic Results,” 2016).
A study from Americans for the Arts showed that students who are exposed to art are less likely to drop out of school, and lower socioeconomic students benefit the most from art involvement. (“Dramatic Results MAKES a Difference in STEAM – Dramatic Results,” 2016).
NEA researchers studied 22,000 students over twelve years and found that students with high levels of involvement in the arts were five times more likely to graduate high school than those with low involvement in the arts. (“National Dropout Prevention Center,” 2018)
Arts and music classes need to be part of the core classes in school. For the sake of our children and future generations, we need to emphasize the importance of creativity and expression. This is important so that children can develop problem-solving skills, develop socially and emotionally, and improve their overall academic skills so that they can be successful adults. Although there is not an abundant amount of studies on the effects of art education in schools, the benefits are numerous. With lower dropout rates for low socioeconomic students, higher scores on standardized tests, and better problem-solving skills due to exposure to art, these creativity based classes need to be part of the core classes.