A reason to celebrate
Editor of the Reformer:
As we end our 80th summer season at the Weston Playhouse, and area students begin a new school year, it is important for us to remember the impact of education in our homes, schools, and communities. For decades, research has shown that when students participate in the arts as a part of their education, they go on to succeed in school, work, and life.
Designated by Congress in 2010, the week beginning with the second Sunday in September is National Arts in Education Week: a national celebration of the transformative power of the arts in education. We are celebrating here at the Weston Playhouse, and would encourage all supporters of arts, culture, and education-as well as our elected officials and education leaders-to join with us.
Recently, in Washington, D.C., the new Every Student Succeeds Act was signed into law which replaced No Child Left Behind. This new bill fully supports the arts as part of every student's "well-rounded" education. It provides the flexibility for students to learn creatively and for local districts and states to create schools that embrace the arts. What we know is simple: students attend school more often when they have access to the arts; parents and families engage with the schools when schools embrace the arts; dropout rates decrease, grades increase, and the halls are filled with artwork, songs, drama, and dancing.
As we celebrate National Arts in Education Week, we should pause to cheer for these accomplishments, but we should also remember the work we still have to do. How can we use the new law to create schools rich in the arts? How can we support parents, families, and the community in providing more opportunities for engagement? It's up to us-the arts education community-to take a stand and lead in the search for these answers.
Piper Goodeve, Director of Education and Outreach, Weston Playhouse Theatre Company, Sept. 16