Almost every one of us can point back to a creative pursuit, in or out of school, that enhanced our skills, knowledge, or understanding. Yet the majority of secondary school students in the United States aren't required to enroll in arts courses, many elementary schools nationwide lack art classes or activities, and arts and music instruction is often the first thing to go when schools feel the pressure to improve test scores.
Happily, from this admittedly grim background spring many rays of hope. In our special report on arts education, Edutopia paints a bright picture of how schools are forging innovative community partnerships to bring rich, academically integrated arts curriculum to their students:
Read about a network of educators committed to offering essential activities based on Howard Gardner's eight intelligences, including integrated daily arts instruction.
Watch students sing opera through a program built on theories about brain-based learning and research into children's neurological development.
Discover how one school district grew a program to link children with the city's vast cultural resources by working with community professionals from orchestras, dance companies, theaters, and museums.
Follow the design and testing of an arts-integrated curriculum that includes theater arts, spoken word poetry, and hip-hop to make the arts more accessible to the most marginalized students.
And, in celebrating National Novel Writing Month, we discover a nationwide program that encourages would-be student novelists to write their hearts out -- not for glory or grades but just for the intrinsic reward of writing the story.
When you click on any of these links, you'll also find links to the rest of this special report about the advantages of arts education -- more articles, a video -- so read on, and we think you'll agree that all of us should support the arts in school with all our vigor.