Submitted by Suzanne Oehler
This time of year, when heated discussions and political ads focus on national and statewide issues, we must realize that decisions are regularly made at the local level by public school boards, directly impacting our community. Your vote for a school board candidate who represents the best interests of the students in your school district is imperative. And every child’s success is developed creatively through the arts in school.
"Creativity now is as important in education as literacy, and we should treat it with the same status,” shares Sir Ken Robinson, leader in the development of education, creativity and innovation. Yet, arts education has taken a backseat at our schools for far too long. Music, dance, drama and visual arts stimulate classroom learning in math, reading and a comprehensive range of subjects. The arts foster creativity and activate the imagination to bring meaning to facts and words drilled into young minds.
Research studies prove that offering the arts in the classroom or as a core subject not only engage children in learning across all subjects, it is an essential element of preparation for college and today’s competitive jobs.
The National Assembly of State Arts Agencies found that arts education positively impacts student achievement in reading, language skills and math: High School students who take arts courses score higher on the SAT, a key metric of college readiness and admissions. Students with four years of arts courses scored 58 points higher on the Verbal and 39 points higher on the Math assessment when compared to students with no arts.
Encouraging student engagement in school through the arts starts from preschool and progresses throughout elementary, middle and high school. Many of us have heard stories of a student who stayed in school or straightened out because of a music class or a theater program.
School board elections are often won based on the number of times we’ve seen a candidate’s yard sign or if we know someone who knows someone who knows a candidate. Voting responsibly is as simple as viewing your local candidate’s responses to four simple questions about education and the arts at www.artsed411.org/survey.
Please don’t take voting lightly when it comes to this year’s local school board elections. Your choice of candidate can support stronger schools and community and makes a difference in the future of your son, daughter, grandchild, or neighborhood kid.
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