During our recent Arts Education Council meeting in San Diego, the council members suggested posting some blogs about the federal grant Investing in Innovation (i3) in preparation of the deadline for the next round of applications. So, for the next couple of days, Americans for the Arts will be encouraging a spotlight on the i3 program.
Expect to see some lessons learned from last year’s arts-focused grantees and links to helpful resources if you’re finishing up your application or wanting to resubmit your application from last year.
During that same meeting, the council had the pleasure of hearing Rachel Goslins, executive director of the President’s Committee on Arts and Humanities (PCAH), speak via Skype about their recent Reinvesting in Arts Education report.
She mentioned that during their research, they came across many educators who see the arts as something nice to do only after you’ve solved all of your school’s woes. PCAH is hoping to change this paradigm so that schools start seeing the arts as a solution to boosting test scores, closing the achievement gap, and increasing student engagement.
To quote the report: “The time is ripe, the building blocks are in place in the form of model programs, and the lessons have been learned in the areas necessary to scale up arts education…we can see now there is truly an opportunity to take advantage of the arts to achieve significant and lasting benefits for students, teachers, and schools.”
In essence, this quote is describing the Investing in Innovation fund. With model programs in existence from the Arts in Education federal grants, the time is ripe for moving these programs from being the best kept secrets in education to being the torchbearers of education reform through their engagement of students in deeper learning.
I am a firm believer, as is PCAH, that arts education can lead education reform. There are excellent models out there that need to be shared.
What if instead of demanding a seat at the education table, arts organizations just lead reform by example? Would that world look like the one our president envisions:
“The first step in winning the future is encouraging American innovation…but if we want to win the future then we also have to win the race to educate our kids…” –
President Obama, State of the Union Address, January 25, 2011:
Or, in other words, if we want to Invest in Innovation, then we must Reinvest in Arts Education.