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PHILADELPHIA, PA, May 11, 2017 /24-7PressRelease/ -- The National Report Card was released by the Department of Education on April 25, 2017. Officially known as the National Assessment of Educational Progress in the Arts, the National Report Card is a standard of testing eighth graders in music and visual arts. In 2016, 63% of eighth graders took a music class and only 42% took a visual arts class. Those numbers are down by 1% and 3%, respectively, compared to the 2008 report. The conclusion? Fewer students are enrolling in art programs in school, which, according to our research at the Eleven Eleven Foundation, will have a direct negative impact on overall academic performance.
Art enhances education, that is a proven fact. Schools that consistently achieve higher scores in maths and sciences have one big thing in common; they include art education in their curriculum. Countries that integrate arts into public education produce a smarter, and stronger workforce. This article details how supporting the arts not only boosts education, but also strengthens communities and gives businesses a strategic edge.
According to a ranking by PISA (Program for International Student Assessment), the United States ranks twenty-fourth in reading, twenty-fifth in science, and a measly forty-first in math when compared to other developed countries. Within the states, however, the divide becomes even more clear. For example, New York City's Mayor Bloomberg has worked to promote art in schools and launched initiatives to connect students to the many cultural resources available in the city. Now, New York holds one of the highest education standards in the country.
These statistics are more important than ever before, when funding for the arts is being stripped across the country and the entire department of education is hanging in the balance. Donald Trump's proposed budget for 2018 would pull the plug on the National Endowment for the Arts, along with several other agencies that rely largely on government funding. Despite accounting for less than a tenth of a percent of the national budget, the NEA allows millions of Americans to participate in the arts and "strengthens the creative capacity of our communities." If the NEA and similar agencies are cut from the budget, we will likely experience the consequences for the next several years.
The role of schools in our society is to prepare children with the knowledge and skills they will need later in life. Without a comprehensive learning experience, we will be leaving our kids short-handed in regards to life-skills. The ability to do basic math is much different than the ability to problem solve, and problem solving requires creative thinking.
A more concrete example of the benefits of art is the effectiveness of art therapy in treating PTSD. It has shown tremendous results in relieving stress, anxiety, and depression in people affected by traumatic situations such as war. If art is such an effective tool for taking care of our veterans, why would we not apply the same standards to our children's education?
The facts are here, and the science checks out. The arts are being phased out of schools and kids' grades are going to go down with them. Unless we reverse this trend, American education will continue to slide down the rankings and our workforce will lose it's competitive edge. The Eleven Eleven Foundation is working to promote the arts as a way to create positive change in people's lives. It is our initiative to support local artists and raise awareness for programs such as art therapy in treating PTSD. To learn more about our mission to support the arts, join us at 1111arts.org.
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