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Rationale for Arts Education

Explaining why a student’s educational experience should be considered incomplete if it does not include learning in the arts.

Why should the Albuquerque Public Schools - or any K-12 education entity - include the arts in their curriculum? What lasting benefits do the arts have to offer students? Why should a student’s educational experience be considered incomplete if it does not include learning in the arts?

  • The arts provide a set of tools for creating, for communicating and understanding others’ ideas, and for making critical choices. This makes the arts as essential to success in daily living as knowing how to read,  write, and compute.
  • Education in the arts contributes to the quality of learning in all subjects and to the overall learning environment. More specifically, the arts can:
    • serve as the catalyst for exploring and creating relationships across all content areas;
    • enrich the multicultural dimensions of the learning environment and in doing so, encourage acceptance and appreciation of both nuance and difference;
    • foster the exploration of multiple solutions and divergent modes of higher order thinking; and
    • convey a sense of time and place beyond historical fact.
  • The arts provide a context for learning those skills and competencies identified as essential for success in the workplace: task analysis, teamwork, resource management, problem-solving, critical thinking, creativity, self-assessment, self-discipline, and the understanding of complex relationships. 
  • The arts have appeal to and benefit for all students, regardless of their level of functional capacity.
  • The arts have the unique capacity to engage students at three distinct levels: intellectual, emotional and physical, thus allowing for and appealing to divergent learning styles and intelligences.
  • The quality of the local public education system weighs heavily in the decision of many businesses considering relocation to our community. A comprehensive curriculum that includes arts instruction at all grade levels greatly enhances our public schools and the appeal of our community as the City continues to recruit businesses and industries of significant economic value.
  • The Albuquerque community has voiced continued concern for and support of “a comprehensive program of arts education”, especially at the elementary level, as documented in the original Cultural Plan for the City of Albuquerque (adopted, 1995) as well as the 2001 update. In both documents arts education was identified by constituents as the number one priority.
  • The New Mexico Board of Education adopted the Content Standards and Benchmarks for Arts Education in April 1997. The were adopted as regulation by the State Board for grades K-8 and for elective courses in Grades 9-12.