Using Art to Boost Academic Skills

It was appropriate that state Superintendent of Schools Jorea Marple this week chose the Northern Panhandle to unveil a report showing arts education boosts student academic achievement. Public schools in this region have a long tradition of providing opportunities in all the arts.

As competition intensifies for education funding, it needs to be remembered area schools are doing the smart thing with arts programs. Several national studies have indicated students who participate in music, theater, visual arts and similar opportunities do better in academic classes.

Marple and state Department of Education Fine Arts Coordinator Jack Deskins announced a state study on the same topic.

It used information from about 14,500 students – a very impressive sample.

Researchers found West Virginia students involved in the arts score substantially better than their peers on mathematics and reading/language arts tests.

It is a reminder that money spent on the arts in our schools is a wise investment.