For anyone interested in the work of LCI, we present some exciting news: The Center for Arts Education (CAE) has just released “Staying in School,” a groundbreaking report that is the first ever to examine the link between arts education and high school graduation rates in New York City public schools. Data collected by the NYC Department Of Education from more than 200 schools over two years tells us that those “in the top third in graduation rates offered their students the most access to arts education and the most resources that support arts education” (2). What accounts for the connection? By sparking students’ imaginations, by giving them means to express themselves, by leading them into creative collaboration with their peers, the arts engage young people who might otherwise become drop-out statistics. The report concludes helpfully with several positive policy recommendations, including expanded course offerings in the arts, the hiring of certified arts teachers, and the provision of ample classroom space for arts instruction (20-21). We at LCI applaud the exhaustive research and analysis undertaken by CAE, an organization that has served the children of NYC since 1996. The writing (or painting or acting or dancing or music) is on the wall: schools—not just here, but across the country—must integrate the arts into their curricula if we are to end “the national graduation crisis” (5) once and for all.
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