Noting that the arts are a core subject under the No Child Left Behind Act,
U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige has issued guidance on the law's funding
and flexibility that can be used to improve art education and teacher quality,
particularly as a means to improve the educational achievement of
economically disadvantaged students through the arts.
"As I travel the country, I often hear that arts education programs are
endangered because of No Child Left Behind. This message?is both disturbing and
just plain wrong," Secretary Paige wrote in a letter to school superintendents.
"The truth is that NCLB included the arts as a core academic subject because of
their importance to a child's education. No Child Left Behind expects
teachers of the arts to be highly qualified, just as it does teachers of English,
math, science, and history."
The letter cites research that shows arts teaching and learning can increase
students' cognitive and social development and serve as a "critical link" to
help students develop crucial thinking skills and become motivated to achieve
at higher levels. Research also shows that students who are highly involved in
the arts earn better grades and perform better on standardized tests. The
guidance offers a summary of these and other findings found in the Arts Education
Partnership's Critical Links: Learning in the Arts and Student Academic and
Secretary Paige's letter also reminds superintendents about the law's
flexibility and the funding available to support core subjects through programs
supported by the No Child Left Behind Act, including: Title I funds to improve the
academic achievement of the neediest students; the Comprehensive School Reform
program; and Title II Teacher Quality Enhancement Grants to provide
professional development for teachers of the arts.
"For both the important knowledge and skills they impart and the ways in
which they help students to succeed in school and in life, the arts are an
important part of a complete education. As we work together to implement NCLB, let's
ensure that all children have the opportunity to learn and to grow in and
through the arts," Secretary Paige said.
The letter is available at