• Arts Advocacy

    ​​​Advocacy Tools & Resources
    These resources provide teachers, parents, and community members viable tools, data, and information for supporting the arts in Spring ISD. Make sure to check-out the links to arts organizations and the suggested reading list of important advocacy texts that support the arts in the 21st century.

    Former Texas Congresswoman Barbara Jordan:
    "The arts are not a frill. The arts are a response to our individuality and our nature, and help to shape our identity. What is there that can transcend deep difference and stubborn divisions? The arts. They have a wonderful universality. Art has the potential to unify. It can speak in many languages without a translator. The arts do not discriminate. The arts can lift us up."

    George Washington

    “The Arts and Sciences, essential to the prosperity of the State and to the ornament of human life, have a primary claim to the encouragement of every lover of his country and mankind.”

    John Q. Adams
    “I must study politics and war, that my sons may study mathematics and philosophy…in order to give their children the right to study painting, poetry, music and architecture.”

    Steve Jobs, in introducing the iPad 2 in 2011:
    “It is in Apple’s DNA that technology alone is not enough—it’s technology married with liberal arts, married with the humanities, that yields us the results that make our heart sing.”
    As then President-Elect Barack Obama stated on his campaign website: 
    "In addition to giving our children the science and math skills they need to compete in the new global context, we should also encourage the ability to think creatively that comes from a meaningful arts education. Unfortunately, many school disctricts are cutting instructional time for art and music education.  Barack Obama and Joe Biden believe that the arts should be a central part of effective teaching and learning."
    First Lady Michelle Obama at the the Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 18, 2009
    "The arts are not just a nice thing to have or to do if there is free time or if one can afford it," she said. "Rather, paintings and poetry, music and fashion, design and dialogue, they all define who we are as a people and provide an account of our history for the next generation." |
    John D. Rockefeller, III
    "The arts are not for the privileged few, but for the many. Their place is not on the periphery of daily life, but at its center. They should function not merely as another form of entertainment but, rather, should contribute significantly to our well being and happiness."
    Michael Kaiser, President of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
    "Arts education is particularly important in our economic history.  With manufacturing jobs evaoporating, we need more than ever to train our children to be creative, problem-solving members of our economy."


    •An arts education connects young people to themselves, their culture and civilization.  It provides the imagination to see something wholly new in the most ordinary materials and events while daring them to challenge tired modes of expression.
    •An arts education develops collaborative and teamwork skills, technical competencies, flexible thinking, and an appreciation for diversity.
    •The arts are an industry in their own right---the arts are an economically sound investment for communities of all sizes.  The arts are a net contributor to the nation’s economy.  The annual contributions of the arts to the national economy is over $36.8 billion a year.  The number of jobs supported by the arts nationally is over 1.3 billion.
    •An arts education teaches directly to life attitudes and skills that businesses are looking for.  More and more executives are beginning to discover not only that the arts make for a more stimulating work environment, but they have a direct, positive impact on the bottom line. 
    •In the new arts education, children learn to convey ideas, feelings, and emotions by creating their own images. They learn to decode and understand the historical and cultural messages wrapped up in works of art.  They reflect on the meaning of their perceptions and experiences. 
    •Study of the arts encourages a suppleness of mind, a toleration for ambiguity, a taste for nuance, and the ability to make trade-offs among alternative courses of action. 
    •The arts are serious and rigorous academic subjects.  They are essential as an aspect of human knowledge. 
    •Students in the arts continue to outperform their non-art peers on the S.A.T. according to the College Entrance Examination Board. In 1995, SAT scores for students who studied the arts more than four years were 59 points higher on the Verbal and 44 points higher in the Math portions than students without the same art experiences. 
    •The arts convey knowledge and meaning not learned through the study of other subjects.  They represent a form of thinking and a way of knowing that is based in Human Imagination and Judgment.
    •In the Goals 2000: Educate America Act, the arts are recognized as part of the core curriculum, alongside other challenging subject matter like: English, Mathematics, Science, Foreign Language, and History.
    •An arts education teaches students to draw on new resources to empower their lives. 
    •An arts education brings many other faculties into play: Curiosity, Wonder, Delight, a Sense of Mystery, Satisfaction, (and Frustration if neglected).
    •An arts education is part of the definition of what it means to be an “educated person” in other words, a critical and analytical learner, a confident decision-maker, a problem poser and problem solver, and an imaginative and creative thinker.
    •Study of the arts helps students to think and work across traditional disciplines.  They learn to integrate knowledge and think outside the boxes. 
    •Art teachers daily ask their students to engage in learning activities which require use of higher-order thinking skills like analysis, synthesis, and evaluation.  Arts education, then, is first of all, an activity of the mind.
    •An arts education focuses young people to have the eye of discernment that can separate the good from the mediocre, and the truly beautiful from the merely good. 
    •The learning is the doing, and the arts allow students TO DO!  No other educational medium offers the same opportunity.
    •An arts education contributes to technological competence.  New technologies make it possible for students to try a cast array of solutions to artistic problems.  Technology can extend the reach of the art learner, but is difficult without a broad and content-rich arts education to use tools well and effectively. 
    •The cutting-edge worker in the Information Age Economy is the “Knowledge Worker,” a continuous and highly adaptable learner who possess a wide range of higher order thinking skills.  This employee is an IMAGINATIVE thinker with high-level COMMUNICATION and INTERPERSONAL skills​

    Benefits of Musi​c Education

    Did You Know? 
    Middle school and high school students who participated in instrumental music scored significantly higher than their non-band peers in standardized tests. University studies conducted in Georgia and Texas found significant correlations between the number of years of instrumental music instruction and academic achievement in math, science and language arts.
    Source: University of Sarasota Study, Jeffrey Lynn Kluball; East Texas State University Study, Daryl Erick Trent 
    Did You Know?
    Students who were exposed to the music-based lessons scored a full 100 percent higher on fractions tests than those who learned in the conventional manner. Second-grade and third-grade students were taught fractions in an untraditional manner by teaching them basic music rhythm notation. The group was taught about the relationships between eighth, quarter, half and whole notes. Their peers received traditional fraction instruction.
    Source: Neurological Research, March 15, 1999
    Did You Know?
    Music majors are the most likely group of college grads to be admitted to medical school. Physician and biologist Lewis Thomas studied the undergraduate majors of medical school applicants. He found that 66 percent of music majors who applied to med school were admitted, the highest percentage of any group. For comparison, (44 percent) of biochemistry majors were admitted. Also, a study of 7,500 university students revealed that music majors scored the highest reading scores among all majors including English, biology, chemistry and math.
    Sources: "The Comparative Academic Abilities of Students in Education and in Other Areas of a Multi-focus University," Peter H. Wood, ERIC Document No. ED327480
    "The Case for Music in the Schools," Phi Delta Kappan, February, 1994
    Did You Know?
    Music study can help kids understand advanced music concepts. A grasp of proportional math and fractions is a prerequisite to math at higher levels, and children who do not master these areas cannot understand more advanced math critical to high-tech fields. Music involves ratios, fractions, proportions and thinking in space and time. Second-grade students were given four months of piano keyboard training, as well as time using newly designed math software. The group scored over 27 percent higher on proportional math and fractions tests than children who used only the math software.
    Source: Neurological Research March, 1999
    Did You Know?
    A McGill University study found that pattern recognition and mental representation scores improved significantly for students given piano instruction over a three-year period. They also found that self-esteem and musical skills measures improved for the students given piano instruction.
    Source: Dr. Eugenia Costa-Giomi, "The McGill Piano Project: Effects of three years of piano instruction on children's cognitive abilities, academic achievement, and self-esteem," presented at the meeting of the Music Educators National Conference, Phoenix, AZ, April, 1998

    Benefits of Theatre Education

    As CEO and President of the Texas Educational Theatre Association, Inc., it is my pleasure to represent over 1300 theatre educators in the state of Texas. Theatre is at the heart of arts education. The arts provide students of Texas with the most useful tool available in our education system today. Students who participate in the arts, both in school and after school, demonstrate improved academic performance and lower dropout rates. Effective education is based on three main ideas: personal, cultural, and economic. Enrichment subjects in the arts ensure we are educating the whole child and preparing productive citizens for the future.

    Theatre and fine arts classes do not just enrich the lives of students because they learn about storytelling, teamwork, creativity, innovation, and personal expression. Theatre and the fine arts enrich every academic subject that a student studies. They learn history when they study the time period of a play and literary structure when they determine given circumstances, climax, and denouement; they learn mathematics when they explore spatial compositions; they learn science when they discover how pigment and light react to one another while painting scenery or designing costumes.

    We should be passionate about the importance of integrating theatre into not only elementary education, but also middle, secondary, and post-secondary education. “The arts provide a dynamic that is not present in most academic subjects and make learning a richer experience,” said Sandy Garrett, Oklahoma State Superintendent of Public Instruction. Arts in the schools increase test scores and lower dropout rates. The Arts Education Partnership’s publication, Critical Links, contains 62 academic research studies that, taken together, demonstrate how arts education helps close the achievement gap, improves academic skills essential for reading and language development, and advances students’ motivation to learn.
    Benefits of Theatre Education:  Improving Academic Performance and Lowering Drop Out Rates
    By David Stevens, CEO/President, 2007-2009
    Texas Educational Theatre Association, Inc.
    Published in Texas Theatre Notes in two parts May, 2007 & October, 2007

    Benefits of Art Education

    In recent years, school curricula in the United States have shifted heavily toward common core subjects of reading and math, but what about the arts? Although some may regard art education as a luxury, simple creative activities are some of the building blocks of child development. Learning to create and appreciate visual aesthetics may be more important than ever to the development of the next generation of children as they grow up.

    Developmental Benefits of Art

    Motor Skills: Many of the motions involved in making art, such as holding a paintbrush or scribbling with a crayon, are essential to the growth of fine motor skills in young children. According to the National Institutes of Health, developmental milestones around age three should include drawing a circle and beginning to use safety scissors. Around age four, children may be able to draw a square and begin cutting straight lines with scissors. Many preschool programs emphasize the use of scissors because it develops the dexterity children will need for writing.

    Language Development: For very young children, making art—or just talking about it—provides opportunities to learn words for colors, shapes and actions. When toddlers are as young as a year old, parents can do simple activities such as crumpling up paper and calling it a “ball.” By elementary school, students can use descriptive words to discuss their own creations or to talk about what feelings are elicited when they see different styles of artwork.

    Decision Making: According to a report by Americans for the Arts, art education strengthens problem-solving and critical-thinking skills. The experience of making decisions and choices in the course of creating art carries over into other parts of life. “If they are exploring and thinking and experimenting and trying new ideas, then creativity has a chance to blossom,” says MaryAnn Kohl, an arts educator and author of numerous books about children’s art education.

    Visual Learning: Drawing, sculpting with clay and threading beads on a string all develop visual-spatial skills, which are more important than ever. Even toddlers know how to operate a smart phone or tablet, which means that even before they can read, kids are taking in visual information. This information consists of cues that we get from pictures or three-dimensional objects from digital media, books and television.

    “Parents need to be aware that children learn a lot more from graphic sources now than in the past,” says Dr. Kerry Freedman, Head of Art and Design Education at Northern Illinois University. “Children need to know more about the world than just what they can learn through text and numbers. Art education teaches students how to interpret, criticize, and use visual information, and how to make choices based on it.” Knowledge about the visual arts, such as graphic symbolism, is especially important in helping kids become smart consumers and navigate a world filled with marketing logos.

    Inventiveness: When kids are encouraged to express themselves and take risks in creating art, they develop a sense of innovation that will be important in their adult lives. “The kind of people society needs to make it move forward are thinking, inventive people who seek new ways and improvements, not people who can only follow directions,” says Kohl. “Art is a way to encourage the process and the experience of thinking and making things better!”

    Cultural Awareness: As we live in an increasingly diverse society, the images of different groups in the media may also present mixed messages. “If a child is playing with a toy that suggests a racist or sexist meaning, part of that meaning develops because of the aesthetics of the toy—the color, shape, texture of the hair,” says Freedman. Teaching children to recognize the choices an artist or designer makes in portraying a subject helps kids understand the concept that what they see may be someone’s interpretation of reality.

    Improved Academic Performance: Studies show that there is a correlation between art and other achievement. A report by Americans for the Arts states that young people who participate regularly in the arts (three hours a day on three days each week through one full year) are four times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement, to participate in a math and science fair or to win an award for writing an essay or poem than children who do not participate.
    Source: The Importance of Art in Child Development By Grace Hwang Lynch
    Benefits of Dance Education

    15 benefits of dance and dance education.

    1) Dance education aids the development of kinesthetic intelligence.

    2) Dance education creates opportunities for self-expression and communication within the constraints of the medium of the body.

    3) Dance, whether representational, thematic, or abstract, is a repository of civilization that changes through time.

    4) Dance education teaches the values and skills of creativity, problem solving, risk taking, making judgments in the absence of rules, and higher-order thinking skills.

    5) Dance provides an opportunity for students to recognize that there are multiple solutions to problems.

    6) The study of dance fosters an individual’s ability to better interpret interpersonal nonverbal communication.

    7) Dance education provides a strong base from which to analyze and make informed judgments about corporeal images.

    8) Learning the dances of other cultures helps students to develop an understanding and respect for them.

    9) Through stimulating all the senses, dance goes beyond verbal language in engaging dancers and promoting the development of multisensory beings.

    10) Dance provides options to destructive alternatives in a world that is unpredictable and unsafe for children.

    11) Dance education prepares people for careers in dance and other fields.

    12) Dance enhances an individual’s lifelong quality of life.

    13) Participation in dance benefits our communities economically.

    14) Dance education helps students develop physical fitness, appreciation of the body, concern for sound health practices, and effective stress management approaches.

    15) Dance education contributes to the National Education Goals (from the Educate America Act of 1994).

    Source: Judith Lynne Hanna’s 1999 book, Partnering Dance and Education

    Benefits of Extra Curricular Activities

    • Improved discipline, attendance, and academic performance 
    • Teamwork 
    • Character building 
    • Responsibility 
    • Life skills/social issues/self-confidence 
    • Problem solving/higher-level thinking 
    • Decreases students at risk for drugs/alcohol/dropping out 
    • Activities are not solely about what the score is, how many wins or losses are attained during a season, or what place is won at a competition. They provide and instruct students with lessons that will last them a lifetime. 
    The College Board states: 
    The good news is that colleges pay attention to your life both inside and outside the classroom. Yes, your academics probably come first, but your activities reveal a great deal about you, such as: 
    -How you've made a meaningful contribution to something 
    –-What your non-academic interests are 
    –-Whether you can maintain a long-term commitment 
    –-Whether you can manage your time and priorities 
    –-What diversity you'd bring to the student body.

    Arts Adv​​ocacy Quick Referece Guide

    ​Americans for the Arts 
    Americans for the Arts-Sample Letters 
    ArtPRIDE NJ 
    Arts Advocacy Kit 
    NAEA National Art Education Association- Advocacy Resources 
    NAEA 28 Advocacy Advisories 
    Web Sources on Advocacy and Policy 
    The Arts Leave No Child Behind 
    Kennedy Center Arts Edge Advocacy Essentials 
    Keep Arts in Schools 
    The Washington Alliance for Arts Education 
    Arts on the Line: Tools for the Arts Advocate 
    Arts on the Line: Articles and Resources 
    Ten Principles of Effective Statewide Online Advocacy Networks 
    25 Questions for Advocates to Ask Themselves: 
    Arts Advocacy: 
    Alliance of New York State Arts Organizations: 2008 Advocacy Handbook 
    Creative Art Space for Kids Organization 
    No Subject Left Behind 
    Gaining the Arts Advantage 
    Subscribe to the "Critical Link" E-Newsletter 
    Arts Plan New Jersey 
    The Complete Curriculum: Ensuring a place for the arts and foreign languages in Americas schools 
    Finding the Will and the Way to Make the Arts a Core Subject 
    Art Education Talking Points 
    Champions for Change 
    Making a Case for the Arts 
    Arts Students Outperform Non-Arts Students on SAT 
    Scores of Students in the Arts