Arts Education is a collective term that denotes learning in dance, music, theatre arts, and visual arts. The Arts Education Department supports more than 650 dance, music, theatre arts, and visual arts teachers within its K-12 Visual and Performing Arts program. Approximately 100,000 students district-wide are involved in arts instruction.
The arts are a core academic subject under the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) and also under the North Carolina 21st Century Skills project. Teachers of the arts are degreed, certified, and highly qualified, just as their counterparts in English, math, science, history, or any other discipline. Arts educators teach the North Carolina Standard Course of Study in their discipline (dance, music, theatre arts, or visual arts) and focus on processes, skills and techniques, complex problem-solving, higher order thinking skills, and connections to other curriculum. The arts are fundamental to learning.
Education research indicates that studying the arts cultivates essential qualities students need to succeed in the 21st century – creativity, cooperation, communication, cultural understanding, and problem-solving. Students who participate in the arts have a complete and balanced education.
Students highly involved in arts instruction earned better grades and performed better on standardized tests, performed more community service, watched fewer hours of television, reported less boredom in school, and were less likely to drop out of school.