Since 2008, eighty percent of school districts have cut budgets, and often the Arts are the first to go. Coupled with the distinct and limiting focus on developing only a few subject areas, Arts Programs in the United States are at an all-time low, and in some school districts they do not exist at all.
Why is this detrimental to our students? According to the National Endowment for the Arts, students who are involved in the arts are four times more likely to be awarded for academic achievement, and are three times more likely to be recognized for school attendance than students who do not take classes in the arts. The lack of access to the arts has an even more detrimental effect on under-resourced students, making them five times less likely to graduate from high school if they do not take art classes. Furthermore, countries such as Japan, Hungary, and the Netherlands, where the Arts are a mandatory school subject, consistently rank among the highest for math and science scores. If we continue to narrow our focus and eliminate the very programs that contribute to student success, we are creating a future where the dropout rate continues to climb at a staggering rate, and those that do graduate will be less competitive on a global scale.
We need to ensure that the Arts are seen as the catalyst for a meaningful education that shows students how all of their subjects are interrelated to each other, as well as to the life that they want to lead. I am calling on all of the amazing educators out there to put the arts back into their schools. Math teachers collaborate with art teachers to solidify understanding of fractions. Theater teachers and English teachers can team up to create and perform a new play. These pairings can happen with all subjects to create a meaningful, well-rounded educational system that our children will love and that will keep them fully engaged and in school. Let’s ensure that there is nothing common about how we treat our students and let’s give them access to an education that leaves them feeling empowered, creative, and alive with self-expression.
Join me in transforming our education system by brainstorming and implementing creative lesson plans that can enliven how students perceive their education. I am calling on your creative assistance in making a database of extraordinary lessons that show how uncommonly our common core standards can be utilized. Submit your most creative cross-curricular lesson plans for inclusion here in The Uncommon Core database and find lessons to use that were created by educators from around the country.