The U.S. House of Representatives designated Sept. 12-18 be set aside to focus on the value of arts education around the nation and to celebrate the unique ways the arts contribute to student learning.
“Here in West Virginia, we have demonstrated our commitment to arts education as part of our Global21: Students deserve it. The world demands it,”said state Superintendent of Schools Steve Paine. “The arts prepare students to be knowledgeable decision makers instead of mere consumers of mass culture. In addition, the skills needed by our students – including creativity, collaborative learning, global awareness, critical thinking and problem solving – are taught daily in arts classrooms. To deprive students of these skills is to doom them to failure in a global economy.”
Recent studies in both Florida and New York indicate that students who study the arts have higher attendance and graduation rates than their peers who do not. They also score higher on standardized tests measuring language and math skills, a trend that has been noted for decades. Paine said such statistics are strong indicators of how deeply the arts influence student learning.
“Classes such as music, visual art, theater and dance challenge students’ perceptions and help them develop ways of thinking that are visual as well as verbal,” Paine said. “They foster creative thinking and help bridge language and other barriers among diverse cultures in a 21st century global society.”
For more information, contact the Office of Communications at (304) 558-2699.