As I am sure EPISD superintendent Dr. Garcia knows, the arts are a core academic subject. The arts have a significant role in education both for their intrinsic value and for the ways in which they can enhance general academic achievement and improve students' social and emotional development.
As we have seen in the newspaper, arts education programs are endangered because of the recent Tax Ratification Election not passing. This message has echoed and it is both disturbing and just plain wrong.
It's disturbing not just because arts programs will be diminishing or eliminated, but because strategies in funding cutbacks are being interpreted so narrowly as to be considered the reason for these actions. The truth is that the arts are core academic subjects because of their importance to a child's education.
There is much flexibility for EPISD with respect to support for the core subjects. In other states, for example,Comprehensive School Reform (Title I, Part F) funds are supporting arts education at 43 current Comprehensive School Reform schools throughout the state of Arizona. Additional Arizona Arts Education Initiative school sites are being supported with Title V (Innovative Programs) funding under NCLB.
Under NCLB, Title I, Part A funds also can be used by local education agencies to improve the educational achievement of disadvantaged students through the arts. In the same way, Title II Teacher Quality Enhancement Grants can address the professional development needs of teachers of the arts.
In keeping with Dr. Garcia's principle of classroom practices based on research evidence, studies have shown that arts teaching and learning can increase students' cognitive and social development.
Please sign this petition to keep the arts alive in EPISD!