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The Arts Are Essential

Found in: Teaching Strategies

Caught between the demands of testing and an uncertain economy, arts programs occupy a vulnerable and shrinking niche in the school curriculum. Despite research showing the benefits of exposure to the arts, art programs are frequently the first to go when budgets are stripped and standardized testing takes center stage.

With the arts go fine arts specialists, whose expertise enables them to guide students to a deeper experience of appreciating and creating art. We cannot let the arts disappear from public education. Every student deserves the benefits of a comprehensive fine arts program and instructors uniquely qualified to deliver it.

One way to preseve the arts is to integrate them across the curriculum.

Articles from NEA Today

Educators Who Change Lives: Marching to a New Beat
How one North Carolina teacher got his at-risk boys singing a song of success.  (Jan-Feb 2011)

  • As Art Goes, So Go Our Schools 
    A Maryland teacher's passionate plea to keep the arts in schools.  (March 2011)
  • Discipline Tips from Drama Teachers
    [Enter, stage left]: The discipline pro! That would be your school’s drama teacher, who shares her strategies for classroom management and student engagement. Ta-da! (August 2009)
  • Yo! From Tupac to the Bard
    Educators are stepping to a new beat, making use of hip-hop music to engage their students. (November 2008)
  • Dance of the Trapezoid
    Educators use the power of the arts to teach math and science (May 2008)
  • State of the Arts
    When tap shoes are silenced and paintbrush bristles left to harden, student achievement suffers—often at the schools where the arts are needed the most. (January 2007)


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Watch Wynton Marsalis deliver the Nancy Hanks Lecture on Arts and Public Policy at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. His text: The Ballad of American Arts.

YouTube graphic Watch NEA Executive Director John Wilson affirm NEA's commitment to keeping the arts at the forefront of education for the 21st century. (National Press Club, 2008)