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November 21, 1996

There is a growing consensus that the arts should be included as an integral component of K-12 education in the U.S. In the national Goals 2000 legislation and its implementation, the arts were recognized as part of the core curriculum along with other subjects such as English, mathematics, science, foreign languages, and history. The newly-created National Education Goals and performance standards include objectives and outcomes for the arts, as for other subject areas. Twenty-eight states now require some study of the arts for high school graduation, a dramatic increase since 1980 when only two states did so; a large number of states require arts in the elementary grades.

Howard Gardner's "Theory of Multiple Intelligences" underscores the importance of the arts in teaching and learning. He identified seven different types of intelligence: linguistic; logical/mathematical; musical; spatial; bodily kinesthetic; interpersonal; and intrapersonal. He points out that, in this nation, education usually focuses primarily on linguistic and logical/mathematical intelligence. Gardner considers it critical to recognize that the arts build upon and integrate the other five forms of intelligence -- that is, the other five "ways of learning and knowing." He concludes that teaching the arts themselves, as well as using the arts to teach other disciplines, enables educators to reach many students who are not now succeeding in school and to reach all students more deeply.

Many of the nation's most distinguished educational thinkers have long recognized the value of the arts. In A Place Called School (1984), John Goodlad wrote that the arts are not an educational option; rather, they are a "basic." THE POWER OF THE ARTS TO TRANSFORM EDUCATION, a report co-sponsored by the Kennedy Center and the J. Paul Getty Trust, found this to be the case in other developed nations with which we compete. In such countries as England, Germany and Japan, a formal grounding in the arts is seen as a fundamental part of the educational system and a significant contributor to the nation's cultural and economic strength.

What's New of the Net contains (a) sites that provide high quality resources for integrating arts education across the curriculum and (b) links to more than 15 art museums having outstanding Online exhibits.

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