The Right Brain Initiative


Arts Education Advocacy as a Parent: Tip #1

September 12th, 2011 by Right Brain Team



It’s pretty easy for me to discuss how important and formative the arts were to me as a child by sharing a story of that one time when I sang in the chorus of the school play or my painting won a blue ribbon at the fair. But once I become a parent it will be important to me to stay on top of the statistics, too. Here are some recent gems to keep on a handy 3×5 card in my purse:

72.5 percent of 10th graders from “high-arts” schools scored in the top half of composite standardized tests (verbal and math skills combined) compared to 45 percent from “low-arts” schools. 

A state of Missouri survey found that districts offering more fine arts classes have a 1% higher attendance rate. Since funding formulas are based partly on attendance, in a district of 12,000 students, a 1% increase in attendance equals an additional $430,000 annually.

Researchers at Arizona State University in Tempe and the University of Wisconsin-Madison found that students can understand and infer more by physically acting out text than by reading alone.  That’s creative drama, folks!

– For one-stop parent advocacy shopping, these grade level specific guides from the Center for Arts Education in New York are another excellent resource.

And for some regional statistics:

– The Oregon Arts Commission has released a report on 2009-2010 Oregon Department of Education data that shows how many arts education classes were offered by each school in Oregon.  While this data is only the beginning of the conversation (since it does not account for residencies delivered by visiting artists, classes offered by community arts organizations or the critically important arts integration), it opens the door to celebrating our strengths and advocating to fill the gaps. The full report is available on the Oregon Arts Commission website.

– In addition to the state-level data profiled in the report, Sarah Collins, the researcher who prepared it, is in the process of launching a website that allows Oregonians to see their local school building-level data.

Two Oregon groups have been named finalists for the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards: Caldera and Ethos Music Center, both providing intensive out of school arts-based support for at-risk youth in rural communities.

What other ways have you found as a parent to advocate for arts education?  I may be steeped in the field, but this parenting gig is going to be a whole new world and I need all the help I can get!

Deb Vaughn is Arts Education/Poetry Out Loud Coordinator for the Oregon Arts Commission.


Editor’s Note: We are pleased to present the first in a series of blog posts by Deb Vaughn of the Oregon Arts Commission. As Deb prepares to become a mother, and in honor of the second annual National Arts in Education Week, she gathers her toolkit of parent advocacy resources. Stay tuned for a new tip each day this week. This series is expanded from Deb’s recent blog entry for Americans for the Arts.

Read the introduction to the blog series.


Right Brain Team