Superintendent Anne Campbell Endorses Arts Education

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Whether March comes in like a lion or a lamb, one thing is certain. Throughout America, local school districts will be celebrating March as Arts Education Month. California will join the rest of the nation in calling attention to the importance of arts education in the lives of our students. Art in Action is on the forefront of heralding the importance of the visual arts in our schools. Thanks to Art in Action, this year 50,000 students will have the opportunity to participate in a robust K-8 arts education program, learning about great artists, inspiring art techniques, and creative possibilities. This is a great track record, but we still have far too many students in California without access to arts education in their schools, so we have a ways to go in sharing the impact programs like Art in Action can have.

One reason I’m an ardent advocate for Art in Action is because it’s such a great companion to California’s new state standards in language arts, mathematics, and science. The new standards call upon our schools to prepare students for success in the 21st century. This means our students need to learn not only the content areas of language arts, mathematics, and science (what we’ve traditionally known as the 3 R’s), but they also need to develop 21st century skills (known as the 4C’s). What are these skills? Critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity. Teachers across California are busily incorporating the 4 C’s into their instruction and many are using the arts as a way to integrate student experiences across the content areas because the arts provide such a wonderful medium for teaching the 21st century skills. What a perfect match with the mission of Art in Action! So, as you head into March, I hope you’ll join Art in Action in advocating a greater presence for the arts in our schools because they provide the perfect medium for teaching the 4 C’s! Here’s to Arts Education Month!

Anne Campbell, Superintendent, San Mateo County, CA, Schools Office of Education