NFB also celebrates National Arts in Education Week, which recognizes the transformative power of the arts in education. Passed by Congress in 2010, House Resolution 275 designates the week that follows the second Sunday of September as National Arts in Education Week. The celebration is intended to bring attention to the cause of arts education for elected officials and educational decision makers across the country and to support equitable access to the arts for all learners.
In 2020 we celebrate this week of advocacy, creativity and more September 13-19!
Teaching and learning will never quite be the same in our post-COVID-19 world. However, our commitment to provide rich and varied educational experiences remains unwavering. The arts have played an important role in these tumultuous times and will continue to do so for all students, including the traditionally underrepresented, those with special needs, and from low-income families. The healing and unifying power of the arts has been evident as the COVID-19 pandemic swept the country. We have seen and heard it play out through works of art on sidewalks, shared musical moments from porches, in plays and dance performances, and every other imaginable iteration of art making. As states and schools work through multiple challenges in the years ahead, arts education must remain central to a well-rounded education and fully funded to support the wellbeing of all students and the entire school community.
Our country faces an issue of access due to local control and school-based decision making. In 2012, a report from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) found that high-poverty schools are significantly less likely to provide students with access to arts education. Former Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, stated, “This is absolutely an equity issue and a civil rights issue.” Therefore, we work to secure equity in access to arts education and articulate the role of the arts as a pathway to success for all, specifically in the education of students of color, students in rural communities, students who are classified as low-SES, English Language Learners, or those who require special education.
Arts education supports the social and emotional well-being of students, whether through distance learning or in person. Self-awareness, self-efficacy, self-management and perseverance, social awareness and relationship skills are central to any arts education activity, no matter the age and ability of the student or the environment in which the learning takes place. The arts, with their strong emphasis on team-building and self-reflection are supremely suited to re-ignite students’ interest in learning through collaboration, while simultaneously fostering creativity, critical thinking, and communication.
Arts education nurtures the creation of a welcoming school environment where students can express themselves in a safe and positive way. Celebrating our ability to come together as educators and students is vital to creating a healthy and inclusive school community. The arts, through a rich partnership among certified arts educators, teaching artists, and community arts providers, play a valuable role in helping students and their families build and sustain community and cultural connections.
From Arts Is Essential, published by Americans for the Arts.