The blog of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
By Jonathan Lewis, President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities
On May 6th, 2011, before a packed room in the Hotel Palomar in Washington D.C., members from the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities unveiled an ambitious new study on Arts Education in the United States. The report, Re-Investing in Arts Education: Winning America’s Future Through Creative Schools is the result of 18 months of extensive interviews and research, and was accomplished with major support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Several public figures spoke about the report’s exciting findings, including Melody Barnes, Director, White House Domestic Policy Council; Margo Lion, Broadway Producer; Kaya Henderson, Chancellor, DC Public Schools; Ted Leonsis, Washington Capitals and Wizards owner; and Mary Schmidt Campbell, Dean, Tisch School of the Arts, NYU.
The report, which includes a foreward by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, takes into account major shifts in the landscape of American education over the past decade, as well as recent longitudinal studies and new findings in neuroscience. The result is some of the most robust data to date showing that an arts education greatly increases academic performance and creativity, especially for low-income students. The report makes the following points:
The Committee intends this report as a practical tool for school administrators, state and district decision-makers, business leaders, and the public—as they weigh priorities in their school budgets. The President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities (PCAH) was created in 1982 under President Reagan to serve as an advisory committee to the White House on cultural issues. Its focus areas are education, cultural exchange, and the creative economy.