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Art Advocacy Statement

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From: Kevan Nitzberg (knitzber_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Sat Nov 10 2001 - 18:26:32 PST


In light of the cuts that have been made to educational funding in Minnesota
this year, I have compiled a list of arts advocacy bullets that I am sharing
with teachers of the arts in my district. The idea is that this list of
points that spell out the importance of the arts in education will then be
shared with parents, administrators, students and state legislators to help
garner greater understanding of why what we do is so important for kids.
After reading some of the problems that many other teachers on this listserv
are having with necessary funding and support of their respective programs,
I thought I would share this with you:

The Importance of a Strong Arts Education in Schools

Following the lack of funding that has become available in public education
across the state of Minnesota as a result of both the underfunding from the
State Legislature last summer and the failure of most of the subsequently
proposed educational levies across the state, many programs in schools are
in danger of being cut, including arts programs. The following are some
points that are widely acknowledged in support of the importance of the arts
in education for K-12 students:

* The arts engage all students in education, from those who are already
  considered successful and are in need of greater challenges, to those who
  would otherwise remain disconnected and be at risk of not being able to
  realize their own potential for success.
* Through exercising their imaginations, the arts help students to make new
  connections, transcend previous limitations and think Œoutside of the
  box¹.
* Expression in the arts helps students to develop cognitive and physical
  skills.
* The arts provide an avenue for students to be able to express themselves
  and connect with their peers through personal growth and cooperative
  learning experiences.
* The arts are a strong motivator for students to develop self discipline
  and social skills.
* The arts encourage self directed learning, helping to develop the capacity
  of students to strive for greater success.
* Each art form brings special ways of perceiving the world and mentally
  organizing and retrieving information, utilizing critical thinking and
  problem solving skills.
* The arts help to transform the school environment to one of discovery and
  learning, breaking down barriers between disciplines and improving the
  conditions of learning.
* The arts gives students the opportunity to represent what they have
  learned, thus achieving greater comprehension and retention of the
  material being covered.
* Art criticism helps students develop observation, analysis, interpretation
  and evaluation skills that can be transferred to other areas of study.
* The arts are essential to an understanding of personal, local, national
  and global cultures, past and present.
* A strong, sequential arts education program in schools promotes cultural
  literacy in our society.
* The arts help to provide experiences for students to continue to become
  lifelong learners after they reach adulthood, creating an awareness that
  learning is a never-ending process.
* Education in the arts helps students to acquire those skills that will be
  essential to their being successful in the new millennium.

Information compiled by Kevan Nitzberg,
Fine Arts Facilitator
Anoka-Hennepin School District #11

This is certainly not a collection of big 'ahas' for this group, but it
might be nice to have all of this in one place to cut and paste for whatever
duplication and use you deem appropriate.

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