Study Shows: Arts Good

Posted by: Dave Douglas on October 21, 2009 @ 5:01 pm
Filed under: Culture, Dave Douglas (Artist Thoughts)

To a lot of us the arts are a crucial part of life in and of themselves. To judge the arts in terms of economic value or contribution to society seems both to miss the point and to handicap the arguments in their favor. In public policy, however, lots of tough decisions have to be made, and every possible angle must be explored to sway decision-makers.

That’s why I think this study from the Center for Arts Education is so important.

In New York City, the cultural capital of the world, public school students do not enjoy equal access to an arts education. In fact, in schools with the lowest graduation rates—where the arts could have the greatest impact—students have the least opportunity to participate in arts learning.

This report takes the first ever look at the relationship between school-based arts education and high school graduation rates in New York City public schools. The findings, based on data collected by the New York City Department of Education (DOE), strongly suggest that the arts play a key role in keeping students in high school and graduating on time…

Analyzing data from more than 200 New York City schools over a two-year period, this report shows that schools in the top third in graduation rates offered their students the most access to arts education and the most resources that support arts education. Schools in the bottom third in graduation rates consistently offer the least access and fewest resources.

It’s nerdy, but you can find the whole study here. With statistics about the arts flying around, this study seems like a concrete way of judging the power of the arts in human life. You have to hope that this will spark some action in a positive direction.


  1. […] 1 votes vote Study Shows: Arts Good To a lot of us the arts are a crucial part of life in and of themselves. To judge the arts in […]

    Pingback by Study Shows: Arts Good — October 21, 2009 @ 5:18 pm

  2. The quote above (and the study it introduces) is certainly having the best intentions and fighting for a good thing. But right the first part of the first sentence made me stumble a bit. It may be rhetorically smart to call New York the “cultural capital of the world” while then criticizing it’s lack of support for the arts. However, I think “culture” is by definition so much interdependent on visible and invisble currents, undercurrents and countercurrents, that it is impossible to single out a world capital for culture. (It’s even hard enough to single out one world capital for economy and one for politics, though this is still an easier task than with art and culture.)
    Hm, probably I’m being nerdy now as well. Sorry for that.

    Comment by Kai Weber — October 23, 2009 @ 2:48 am

  3. Point well taken. Thanks, Kai.

    Comment by Dave Douglas — October 23, 2009 @ 8:10 am

  4. Thank you for your insight regarding the importance of music in schools. I am always looking for resources that support education because of the music cuts that are happening all over the country in public and private schools. I hope to use this study in my future teaching years. Thanks again!

    Comment by Dana Cerminaro — November 2, 2009 @ 8:57 am

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