Theatre Action Project has dedicated itself to the development of youth through arts education…and they work hard find ways to bring it to students all over Austin despite school funds.
According to Douglas Israel, the director of research and policy for The Center for Arts Education, students do not have equal access to arts education. The somber fact remains that public schools that have the lowest graduation rates – where arts could really teach these students life lessons that most other education cannot – have the least opportunity for students to participate in arts learning.
High schools in the top third of graduation rates have almost 40 percent more certified art teachers than schools in the bottom third, as well as 40 percent more physical space and classrooms to support arts learning.
Arts education provides learning that can teach students things that a regular classroom education cannot. In fact, data collected by the New York City Department of Education suggests that arts play a key role in keeping students in high school and graduating on time.
High schools in the top third of graduation rates are almost 50 percent more likely to raise funds to support the arts, and thus have more coursework and opportunities to participate in the arts.
TAP seeks grants for schools that cannot afford arts programming. Check out their blog from last week about a grant they received that funds programming for high school students.
I think it is important that we show our support for this issue, and support arts education through both vocal and financial means. It is vital that students have the opportunity to learn through arts education in Austin and around the country as well.
Matthew Koller, UT Student and TAP supporter