John Lithgow, Deborah Rutter and Natasha Trethewey Column: Famous Actor, Arts Administrator and Poet Laureate explains why arts education is essential | Chroniclers


In 2018, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences convened an Arts Commission to examine the state of arts education in the United States and assess the need for increased support. We were delighted to have been invited to chair a distinguished community of 38 other artists, scholars and activists, all of whom contributed their time and expertise to this multi-year effort.

While we didn’t predict a pandemic, we understood from the start that the arts, and by extension the skills and abilities they teach, were at risk. We looked at dozens of reports and all the data available, and focused our discussions on the challenges of accessing arts education in public schools.

The resulting report, ‘Art for Life: The Case for Arts Education’, offers ample evidence of the attributes, values ​​and skills that flow from arts education, including social development. and emotional, better academic engagement and more vital civic and social action. commitment. It also offers concrete recommendations for improving education policy at local, state and national levels.

While 88% of Americans agree that arts education is an essential component of a well-rounded education, the arts remain underestimated among policymakers, who tend to treat them as a supplement to other subjects, such as optional or superfluous subjects. They are none of those things.

Most disturbing is that the decline in arts education continues to reflect the lingering inequalities in our education system. Students in high-need schools and historically underserved populations have been hit hardest.


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