Arts education can help close the achievement gap

Studies finds that arts education engages students who are often underserved in public schools, including students from low socio-economic status (SES) backgrounds and English language learners; that these students do better in arts-rich schools than in schools that do not have robust arts programs; and that they show the greatest relative improvement in academic achievement when participating in the arts. The more time they study the arts, the more pronounced are these effects. Studies further find that arts integrated instruction offers an alternative avenue for students to access and learn information in English language arts and mathematics and may be more effective than traditional remedial programs, thus offering a resource in helping to close the achievement gap. Teachers who integrate the arts into their curricula find that they are better able to understand and meet the needs of all of their students. Research suggests that policymakers should consider increasing rather than reducing the role of the arts in schools where an achievement gap persists between students from low-SES backgrounds, English language learners, and other student groups (read more).