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At a time when we are making difficult choices about what to fund in society and particularly in schools, it may be time to consider some research-based facts.   Recent research published in the journals Education Next and Educational Researcher reveals that students participating in art education demonstrate higher levels of critical thinking skills, social tolerance and historical empathy when compared to students without contact to the arts.

While previous studies have proven a correlation between rising student test scores and social responsibility with art education, for the first time evidence shows that art generates these significant benefits – especially for minority students, and students from low-income families.

Whadya’ say Philadelphia?

We have some of the nation’s greatest arts and cultural institutions within a short bus ride from some of the nation’s most disenfranchised communities. We have fabulous community-based arts programs, from Art-Reach to the Village of Arts & Humanities.  What untapped opportunities can we find and nurture?  Is it really naïve to say that if we want to improve academic outcomes, reduce youth violence and help foster success of the next generation that it would be worthwhile to include more arts and culture in the mix?

Not if we buy into data-driven decision making.

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