Why Students Need Arts Education

Why Students Need Arts Education


Young people who participate in the arts are:


  • 4 times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement 
  • 3 times more likely to be elected to class office within their schools 
  • 4 times more likely to participate in a math and science fair 
  • 3 times more likely to win an award for school attendance 
  • Participate in youth groups nearly four times as frequently 
  • Read for pleasure nearly twice as often 
  • Perform community service more than four times as often 

(Study by  Stanford University and Carnegie Foundation For the Advancement of Teaching; 1998)

What about test scores? 

A 2008 study by the non-profit organization The Education Commission of the States concludes that arts can play a critical role in improving the academic performance of students.  In a national sample of 25,000 students, those students "with high levels of arts-learning experiences" earned higher grades and scored better on standardized tests than those with little or no involvement in the arts-regardless of socioeconomic status.  Learning through the arts also appears to have significant effects on learning in other disciplines, with "students consistently involved in theaterand music showing higher levels of success in math and reading."

Fact: Americans Value Arts Education.

  • 93% of American consider the arts to be vital to providing a well-rounded education for children and a critical link to learning and success. (2005 Harris Poll)
  • 85 percent of surveyed business executives indicated that they are currently having difficulty recruiting individuals who possess creative ability with demand for creative people expected to grow as firms pursue innovation.
  • Creativity/innovation rates among the top five skills sought by US employers.
  • Among eleven high school subjects, superintendents rank arts activities among the top four.

(Ready to Innovate, from The Conference Board, Americans for the Arts, and the American Association of School Administrators)  

Benefits of Arts Education include:

  • Increased awareness of self (mind, body, and voice) and others (collaboration and empathy) 
  • Improved clarity and creativity in communication of verbal and nonverbal ideas 
  • Deeper understanding of human behavior, motivation, diversity, culture, and history 

The Arts are Business.

  • The creative economy is one of the driving forces of the Los Angeles and Orange County economies, generating nearly 1 million in direct and indirect jobs, $140 billion in sales and receipts, and more than $5.1 billion in state and local taxes. (2009 Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation report)

Arts Education Helps At-Risk Populations:

  • Arts education makes a tremendous impact on the developmental growth of every child and has been proven to help level the "learning field" across socio-economic boundaries. 
  • Arts education has a measurable impact on at-risk youthin deterring delinquent behavior and truancy problems while also increasing overall academic performance among those youth engaged in after school and summer arts programs targeted toward delinquency prevention. 
  • Arts education in schools increases test scores across every subject area, lowers drop out rates and helps close the achievement gap regardless of socio-economic status.  

(Youth ARTS Development Project, 1996, U.S. Department of Justice; Arts Education Partnership, CAAE)

Businesses understand that arts education:

  • builds a school climate of high expectation, discipline, and academic rigor that attracts businesses relocating to your community 
  • strengthens student problem-solving and critical thinking skills, adding to overall academic achievement and school success 
  • helps students develop a sense of craftsmanship, quality task performance, and goal-setting-skills needed to succeed in the classroom and beyond 

(Business Circle for Arts Education in Oklahoma, "Arts at the Core of Learning 1999 Initiative")

Developed by A. Flanagan, LAUSD Arts Education Branch, 2009

Photos courtesy of the HeArt Project.