drseussquoteThis weekend was Dr. Seuss’s birthday.  As I think about the wonderful and creative books and thoughts Dr. Seuss shared with the world, it reinforces the importance for arts education in K-12 schools.

In his books, Dr. Seuss led us into worlds with The Once-ler, the Whos, the Sneetches, the Glotz, and Flummox, among many other fun and wacky characters.  He used fun new words and funny new worlds to show us new ways of glimpsing our own culture. His creativity opened up new ways of thinking and learning- fun ways!

We must see the importance of this, and hold arts as an essential learning tool. Not only is art fun, it supports student growth.  As students become 21st century learners, creative culture will continue to give children a competitive edge. Arts education is key to building creativity, and creativity helps spur innovation.

Edutopia says, “Years of research show that it’s closely linked to almost everything that we as a nation say we want for our children and demand from our schools: academic achievement, social and emotional development, civic engagement, and equitable opportunity.” We’ve seen expanded-time schools add more arts education as they’ve redesigned and expanded their schedules, they have seen great success.

For example, Orchard Gardens School is a great model of what happens when Art is intertwined with other core subjects to turn around schools. Their expanded school schedule has made room for more math and reading and created more time for art and music, physical education, and foreign languages. Art has been a cornerstone to the transformation of this school. As a result, student performance on state reading and math exams jumped 10 percent and 16 percent, respectively.

If you read more research surrounding Arts in schools, it is clear that arts are very valuable to learning. I’m sure Dr. Seuss would agree with us that art does further student success and arts combined with other disciplines will help students move mountains.  By expanding learning time, we can provide students with comprehensive, innovative art classes as part of strong academic and well-rounded educations.