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Celebrating The Benefits Of Arts Education

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No one can deny the benefits of arts education in our schools. Study after study demonstrates that student involvement in the arts is linked to higher grades, a stronger community spirit, and lower dropout rates. One recent poll shows that 93% of Americans believe that the arts are a vital part of a well-rounded education and that taking part in an art class, the orchestra or a play in high school leads to success as an adult. CEOs seem to agree. They say "creativity" is the number one thing they look for in an employee.

Here in California, arts education is actually mandated for grades one through 12. That can mean anything from dance to music to theater, but actual implementation of the mandate is left to the schools' discretion. So, the number of arts classes being offered in the state has been disappearing at an alarming rate. For example, music education classes decline 47% from 1999 to 2004, according to the California Alliance for Arts Education. After the 2009 state budget crisis, the numbers worsened. A survey by the California Legislative Analysts Office showed that 20% of the districts surveyed has cut programs altogether.

Still, there are many examples of high school arts programs turning out successful students. We sampled a few: a ceramics class at Los Amigos High School in Garden Grove, a music class at Centennial High School in Compton, and a performing arts program at Beverly Hills High School. The programs are all very different, but they have several things in common, including passionate adults creating passionate students.

Beverly Hills High School's fall play, Alfred Hitchcock's The 39 Steps, runs from November 13 through November 16. For tickets and more information, check out the school's website.
http://bhhs.bhusd.org/

The Music Unites Centennial Orchestra has several holiday concerts on the calendar. You can find out more at the school's website and at the Music Unites website.

http://web.compton.k12.ca.us/Pages/Schools/Profile/centennialHS.aspx

http://www.musicunites.org/

 

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