Arts losing out in schools

With schools pressured to meet testing standards of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) (PL 107-110, PDF, 1.8MB, 670p., from GPO), arts education is being "squeezed out," reports Stateline.org in a Nov. 16 story. Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, as chairman of the Education Commission of the States, is seeking to increase arts enrichment in schools' curricula. Gov. Huckabee was quoted in the article:
Some states are still making the huge mistake of eliminating arts programs, thinking that they're doing the kids a favor academically, when in fact, they are hurting their children.
Although the arts are a "core academic subject" in NCLB, they are not tested like reading and math, and so lack the results on which funding, bonuses and penlties are based. School boards are placing a high priority on improving math and reading scores, and underperforming schools are more likely to hire a new teacher in math than in the arts. However, it has been shown that the arts especially benefit at-risk groups which score low on tests and high in dropout rates. The article describes two educational arts programs which have helped underprivileged youth with measurable success: Dallas ArtsPartners and Massachusetts' YouthReach Initiative.

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