Do Re Mi Fa So La Ti Do (The State of Arts in Public Education)

I'll spend the majority of my day today being the accompanist for our local Junior High as they go to competition.  You can read about it here.  I've been attending their rehearsals for the last two weeks and have seen a lot about the education system and how it works in the real world.

This is an artsy little town in West Texas.  We have a great tradition in the area of Arts (Drama, Music, etc). We were discussing the other day how much ARTS there is in this town (population of 10K or so).  It's very unusual; a strong elementary music/arts program; strong choral tradition in Junior/High School; two strong drama programs in Junior/High school; and band programs that consistently score superior ratings. We also have a local community college that has a strong drama tradition too.  Recently they have formed an Arts Alliance for our county. You can read about it here This group supports arts in the community through Exhibits and interactive Saturday events for kids in the town.

So, we're quite unsual. I'm afraid that in other places around the country the arts are in jeopardy.  In a race to increase scores in math, science, reading and other areas, arts courses are cut or sadly still in place with little or no support from the administration.  I'm glad that's not the case here.

My observation is that schools with strong arts traditions also have strong academic scores too. It has been consistently shown that students in arts programs score higher on national tests.  Could it be because they are exercising creativity and expression in another part of their brain by participating in music, drama and dance?  I think so.  I think it benefits kids to be part of Arts programs in public schools.

What is the state Arts in your public school?  Are you a participant and supporter of the Arts in your community?