Last week, a single, teen parent – a junior at Shawnee High School – wrote to us that “the Blue Apple program makes me want to come to school.” This simple and eloquent statement gets to the heart of the conversation we need to be having in our community. We have the opportunity to have a game-changing effect on the future of education in Louisville. If we act wisely, our efforts will result in a well-educated population that possesses the creative problem-solving skills needed to be a part of the 21st century workforce.
The Jefferson County Board of Education is in the process of selecting a new superintendent and we must be united in our demand that whoever is selected to fill this post must embrace the power of a curriculum that puts an emphasis on the Arts. The data is clear. Children with an arts-rich curriculum in every measurable way outperform their peers who do not have this advantage. Dr. James Catterall’s longitudinal study, DOING WELL AND DOING GOOD BY DOING ART, in fact provides great incentive to make arts experiences available to all young people. For example, his data shows that students from lower socio-economic sectors double their chances of graduating from high school if they attend a school with an arts-rich curriculum. Beyond that, and this is incredible, his research also shows that children who attended an arts-rich school but did not partake in the arts programming also did better than the control group. It seems that the Arts engender a culture that is inquisitive, creative and intellectual.
A CALL TO ACTION
- Call the Jefferson County School Board, and tell them that the next Superintendent must embrace the power of Arts Education and put Arts back in ALL of the schools.
- Call your child’s school and let them know that you want your child to have the benefit of an Arts-Rich education.
- Volunteer for an Arts organization that provides programs for young people.
Since I opened with a quote from one of our students I think it is fitting to close with the following…
“During Drama Club I learn more than friendship. When I’m in my classroom I don’t raise my hand or speak out, I just be the girl in the corner being quiet, but now I’m the girl who speak up and get the question right. I just want to say thank you!” – Anonymous evaluation comment from Blue Apple middle school program.
Please… be a part of this important initiative… together we can change lives…
Paul Lenzi – Executive Director