Our children need a K-12 curriculum that includes the arts. Arts education helps prepare a creative work force. According to the 2007 Conference Board report "Ready to Innovate," there is overwhelming support from school superintendents (98 percent) and corporate leaders (96 percent) that creativity is of increasing importance to the U.S. work force.
A 2006 report from the New Commission on the Skills of the American Workforce said in its executive summary, "The best employers the world over will be looking for the most competent, most creative, and most innovative people on the face of the earth and will be willing to pay them top dollar for their services." The report includes the arts as an essential skill for the future workforce.
The arts are proven to help close the achievement gap. The collection of research described in "Critical Links: Learning in the Arts and Student Academic and Social Development" finds that learning in the arts may be uniquely able to boost learning and achievement for young children, students from economically disadvantaged circumstances, and students needing remedial instruction.
President Obama's arts platform statement included support for arts education, stating that: "In addition to giving our children the science and math skills they need to compete in the new global context, we should also encourage the ability to think creatively that comes from a meaningful arts education."
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The No Child Left Behind Act recognizes the arts as a core academic subject; however, recent studies have shown that some schools are neglecting arts education in favor of other core subjects such as math and science. With all the budget cuts currently being made to education in South Carolina, it is more important than ever that we let our political leaders know that every child deserves the right to have the kind of quality education that will provide them with the critical and creative thinking skills required to be successful in the work force of the future.
The writer lives in Myrtle Beach.