Do you think the arts in education are a waste of time for your children? Think again! Science shows students who have greater access to the arts exponentially improve their chances to succeed in life.
Studies show that students who participate in arts programs are more likely to be recognized for academic achievement. In fact, students who are involved in the arts are four times more likely to participate in math and science fairs. STEM fields and the arts overlap more than you’d think! Music, for example, is basically math and science made beautiful. Studio arts courses like painting, ceramics and photography teach math and science concepts in a practical way.
Learning creative skills keeps kids in school and makes them more desirable in the job market as graduates. In fact, 72% of business leaders say creativity is the number one skill they hire for, and educators agree that arts teach creativity. For instance, one area of the arts is creative writing, which has the word right in the name and gives kids essential critical-thinking skills. And dramatic arts help young people expand their confidence and self-expression, two essential skills for any interview.
Students of low socio-economic status have an average dropout rate of 22%, but students from the same neighborhoods who got a chance to take art classes in school had an average dropout rate of just 4%. Plus, students who take arts classes are more involved in their community: They’re 17% more likely to volunteer and 20% more likely to vote as young adults. And did you know students who take four years of classes in any of the arts disciplines score, on average, almost 100 points better on their SAT scores than students who don’t? If this were a basketball game, 100 points would be a big deal.
But every year, we hear about more and more arts programs being cut in our schools and our communities. Are you wondering how to support the winning team of the future by supporting the arts? Here’s what you do…Ask around. Schoolteachers, parents, students, principals, administrators—ask them what’s happening with arts programs in your community. Ask them if they need anything. You’d be surprised how much impact you can have just by starting a conversation.
To learn more about how the arts can give your child a head start in life, read a blog post titled What the Arts Do for Your Child’s Success. To learn more about Americans for the Arts and how the arts can help to improve your community, visit: AmericansForTheArts.org/EncourageCreativity.
Kristen Engebretsen is the Arts Education Policy Manager for Americans for the Arts. She is also a Takoma Park Elementary delegate for the Montgomery County Council of Parent Teacher Associations.