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Sep 14, 2016 12:14 AM EDT

National Arts in Education Week: The Importance of Arts Education in a Child's Success

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A mural honoring Freddie Gray and others who have died in police custody is seen in the Sandtown-Winchester neighborhood on August 24, 2016 in Baltimore, Maryland.
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In 2010, Congress designated the second Sunday of September and the week after that as National Arts in Education Week. This year, as the nation celebrates arts, educators are focusing on how art can help a child succeed not only in school but also in life.

President Barack Obama himself acknowledges the importance of arts in the success of children. His No Child Left Behind Act puts art in equal standing with math, science, and other disciplines as the core subjects that will help children improve.

"The future belongs to young people with an education and the imagination to create," is one of his popular quotes in reference to education.

Imagination and creativity are not just limited to arts but can also be applied to solving problems. There have been many examples in the past and present how ingenuity and imagination have led to important innovations, discoveries, and inventions.

A report made by the Rand Corporation showed that visual arts does not only stimulate a person on an aesthetic level but it has enabled people to develop deep connections with the world around them as well as see things in a different perspective. Studies have also shown how arts helped improved the concentration, confidence, and motivation of a child.

In recent years, schools have integrated arts into their curriculum and teaching methods, which showed positive results. For example, using musical notes to teach fractions, creating plays and performances that teach history, and making children appreciate culture by playing classical music.

"If they're worried about their test scores and want a way to get them higher, they need to give kids more arts, not less. There's lots of evidence that kids immersed in the arts do better on their academic tests," said Tom Horne, state superintendent of public instruction of Arizona.

The government have seen the importance of art in a child's education and gave arts equal footing in the newly signed law, Every Student Succeeds Act, which succeeds Obama's No Child Left Behind policy.
The sad thing, however, is that despite the statistical results showing the importance of arts, there is still a lack of access to arts education across the nation. Moreover, there is also a significant difference in the access to arts education between different racial and socio-economic groups.

With the celebration of the National Arts in Education Week, there are hopes that there will be more awareness on the importance of arts and that equal opportunity for arts education will be given to all.

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