Arts in education: high standards, seldom met

As schools work to increase student test scores in math, science and reading, arts education is often pushed aside, according to a survey to be released today by the Perpich Center for Arts Education.

According to the survey, fewer than half of all middle and high schools, and only 28 percent of elementary schools offer all of the required arts, drama, music and dance classes.


Joel Byer directs the Apple Valley High School select choir during a practice on Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2012. Arts is a big part of student life at Apple Valley High, on par with academics and athletics.

MPR Photo/Tim Post

Tim Post reports that, as schools shift resources to improve test scores, arts classes are often the first to go.

The authors of the Perpich study argue that music, drama and other arts should be elevated to the same academic level as math, science and reading.

That means schools should be held accountable for their arts education offerings, perhaps by requiring them to test students on the arts. They also want the state to better fund arts programs at schools, a goal that resonates with Minnesota teachers.

“I think it’s really important that our state and our school districts realize that they need to fund and support the arts just as strongly as they fund math and reading,” said Kris Holsen, an elementary art and theater teacher in Brooklyn Park and president elect of the Arts Educators of Minnesota.

Research shows students involved in music, art and drama, do better in math, science and reading, Holsen said.

Read the full story here.