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The Value of Arts Education

The model for Arts Empower San Diego is strongly rooted in current research and is dedicated to data-driven methods of design and implementation. This ensures a solid foundation from which to build and grow the initiative.

The Research

The tapestry of arts education in the San Diego region and beyond is unfinished. State surveys and budget analyses have pointed to a disparate picture of funding and implementation at the classroom level.

The good news is that there is empirical evidence to support the positive effects of a comprehensive, high-quality arts education. In short, the arts support academic achievement.

  • Students who participate in the arts consistently outperform their peers on virtually every measure including SAT scores, reading, and math standardized test scores, and dropout rates (Fiske, 1999). Reported in Champions of Change – The Impact of the Arts on Learning.
  • Strong correlations exist between arts education and cognitive skills such as problem solving, convergent and divergent thinking, and overall intelligence (Magsamen, & Battro, 2011). Reported in Arts, Learning, and the Brain: From Research to Practice in School, at Home, and in the Community.
  • Students who have high levels of engagement in the arts are more likely to complete high school, earn a college degree, and hold a job (Catterall, 2009). Reported in The Arts and Achievement in At-Risk Youth.
  • In terms of academic progress, students from economically disadvantaged areas as well as English Language Learners benefit the greatest from a comprehensive arts education (Deasy, 2002). Reported in Critical Evidence: How the Arts Benefit Student Achievement.
  • In San Diego Unified School District CELDT scores on listening and speaking were significantly higher from 2010-2011 for the experimental group students above and beyond the scores of the comparison group students (Brouillette, L., Grove, D., & Hinga, B. 2012). This recent study is currently under review.

Arts Education in the News

Power of Art: Can painting improve your grades?

Arts Empower San Diego – Coalition aims to boost arts education in county

Penny for the Arts Program – City of San Diego October 2012 memo

Escondido Alliance for Arts Education – Volunteers get creative for school arts