LT. GOVERNOR LANDRIEU & KENNEDY CENTER LAUNCH HISTORIC PARTNERSHIP TO PUT MUSIC & THE ARTS IN EVERY LOUISIANA PUBLIC SCHOOL -- 05/09/2007
Office of Lieutenant GovernorFOR IMEDIATE RELEASE
LT. GOVERNOR LANDRIEU & KENNEDY CENTER LAUNCH HISTORIC PARTNERSHIP TO PUT MUSIC & THE ARTS IN EVERY LOUISIANA PUBLIC SCHOOL
Studies Show Music & The Arts In Schools Increases Reading & Math Aptitude, Reduces Dropout Rates
Baton Rouge, LA - On Wednesday, May 9, 2007, Lt. Governor Mitch Landrieu and Michael Kaiser, President of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., announced a historic partnership to put music and the arts in every Louisiana public school.
Lt. Governor Landrieu and Kaiser addressed the full body of the Louisiana State House and Senate in support of Senate Bill 299. This legislation, authored by Senator Sharon Weston Broome, is designed to phase in Arts in Education over a four-year period. Numerous studies have found exposure to the arts reduces dropout rates, raises standardized test scores, increases aptitude in reading and math, and promotes tolerance and good behavior.
"We want to put music and the arts back in schools because research shows that when children are exposed to the arts, dropout rates go down, test scores go up, and math and science skills improve," Landrieu said. "Additionally, we give our children a very special gift - we equip them with the knowledge and skills to take our culture forward."
Michael Kaiser said, "At the Kennedy Center, we have seen first-hand the dramatic impact that arts education can have on a school's bottom line. Including the arts throughout the curriculum is the key to success-creating the kind of education that keeps young people in school, keeps teachers committed and creative, and keeps families and communities united in support of an education system they believe in."
"Arts in education is an effective tool that we can use to improve the schooling of Louisiana's young people," said Senator Sharon Weston Broome, vice chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Education. "I am committed to improving our state's education system. To accomplish this goal, I believe that we need to be creative and go where the research guides us."
Angèle Davis, Secretary of the Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism said, "In fact, research clearly shows that students engaged in the arts continue to out-perform their non-art peers on the SAT, according to the College Board. On the SAT, students who had more than 4 years of art education scored 59 points higher on verbal and 44 points higher on math than students with no art coursework."
Arts in Education will also help build a creative workforce for the future and develop audiences for Louisiana artists. Louisiana's cultural economy - including music, food, film, the arts, and architecture - accounts for 144,000 jobs and is one of the fastest growing sectors of the state's economy.
The legislation (SB 299) calls for arts in education to be phased in over a four-year period:
Year Two - provide professional development;
Year Three - launch pilot programs across the state; and,
Year Four - put music and the arts in every Louisiana public school.
Supporters and Partners
Arts in Education partners and supporters include:
Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance
Southern Arts Federation
Louisiana Partnership for the Arts
National Assembly of State Arts Agencies
New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival and Foundation
The Louisiana School for Math, Science and the Arts
The New Orleans Center for Creative Artists (NOCCA)
Jazz legend Wynton Marsalis said, "Now more than ever we need art in Louisiana public schools. The State continues to hurt from Katrina, and our children need the healing that comes from active engagement in the arts. Every child should have access to a thoughtful and meaningful arts program in schools. I support Senate Bill 299 and the spirit driving it that advocates for arts education in all pubic schools."
Terence Blanchard, Grammy Award Winner and Artistic Director of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance said, "Teaching and inspiring young people is what this legislation will do. Arts education programs encourage imaginative thinking, creativity, a positive self-image, and respect for one's own cultural heritage. If we are to continue to produce the caliber of musician for which we are world-renowned, we must integrate visual and performing arts curriculum in the schools."
Margaret S. Newman, President of the Southern Arts Federation, endorses this legislation. "Your action clearly acknowledges the significant role of the arts in cognitive learning, problem solving, and, in some cases, positive self esteem. The Southern Arts Federation commends your leadership in building partnerships to achieve these goals for our children," she said.
Jonathan Katz, CEO, National Assembly of State Arts Agencies said, "There is broad, popular support for mandating the arts as part of a core curriculum because everyone knows you give children the best chance to succeed in school by teaching them to learn using all their sensory equipment and their imagination. A 2005 Harris Poll found that 93% of Americans believe 'the arts are vital to providing a well-rounded education' and 4 out of 5 agree 'incorporating the arts into education is the first step in adding back what's missing in public education today.'"
Dr. Patrick Widhalm, Executive Director of the Louisiana School for Math, Science and the Arts, said, "Cultivating creative thinking is so important to prepare our students for the global workforce. Art for art's sake is important, but there are so many ancillary benefits, including improved math and science skills."
Gary Wood, President and CEO of NOCCA Riverfront, said proof of the benefits of arts education is real. "Hands-on arts experiences as a regular, ongoing and supported learning element in education inspires, elevates interest, and serves as a link to all the key learning concepts in education. There is no doubt that Louisiana children will benefit. In the end, we all do."