OF THE ARTS
ARTS EDUCATION PARTNERSHIP
The Arts Education Partnership (formerly known as the Goals 2000 Arts
Education Partnership) is a private, nonprofit coalition of more than
100 national education, arts, business, philanthropic and government
organizations that demonstrate and promote the essential role of arts
education in enabling all students to succeed in school, life and work.
The Partnership was formed in 1995 through a cooperative agreement
between the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), the U.S.
Department of Education, the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies
(NASAA), and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO).
PRESIDENT'S COMMITTEE ON THE ARTS AND THE HUMANITIES
The President's Committee was created by Presidential Executive
Order in 1982 to encourage private sector support and to increase
public appreciation of the value of the arts and the humanities,
through projects, publications and meetings.
Appointed by the President, the Committee comprises leading
citizens from the private sector who have an interest in and commit-
ment to the humanities and the arts. Its members also include the
heads of federal agencies with cultural programs, such as the National
Endowments for the Arts and the Humanities, the Institute of
Museum and Library Services, the U.S. Department of Education, the
Smithsonian Institution, the Library of Congress, the National Gallery
of Art and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
□ F THE ARTS
EDITED BY EDWARD B. FISKE
THE ARTS EDUCATION PARTNERSHIP
THE PRESIDENT'S CDMMITTEE
ON THE ARTS AND THE HUMANITIES
THE GE FUND
THE JDHN D. AND CATHERINE T.
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THE JOHN D. AND CATHERINE T.
Edward B. "Ted" Fiske, the former Education Editor
of the New York Times, is an internationally known
education correspondent, editor, and lecturer who is
■widely regarded as one of the nation's leading education
writers and observers of school reform. He is perhaps
best known as the author of the best-selling Fiske Guide
to Colleges (Times Books), an annual publication that
is a standard part of the college admissions literature.
In 1991, he published Smart Schools, Smart Kids (Simon
& Schuster), which former U.S. Secretary of Education
T. H. Bell called "the most important work on educa-
tion to be published since A Nation at Risk!'
C HAM pi a
When young people are involved with the
arts, something changes in their lives.
We've often witnessed the rapt expres-
sions on the faces of such young people. Advocates for
the arts often use photographs of smiling faces to
document the experience.
But in a society that values measurements and uses
data-driven analysis to inform decisions about alloca-
tion of scarce resources, photographs of smiling faces
are not enough to gain or even retain support. Such
images alone will not convince skeptics or even neutral
decision-makers that something exceptional is happen-
ing when and where the arts become part of the lives
of young people.
Until now, we've known little about the nature of
this change, or how to enable the change to occur. To
understand these issues in more rigorous terms, we
invited leading educational researchers to examine the
impact of arts experiences on young people. We
developed the Champions of Change: The Impact of the
Arts on Learning initiative in cooperation with The
Arts Education Partnership and The President's
Committee on the Arts and the Humanities to explore
why and how young people were changed through
their arts experiences.
We believed that evidence could be collected that
would help answer the questions of why positive
changes occur and what might be done to replicate
them. We expected the work to build on previous
research concerning the arts and learning so that
similar programs could become even more effective;
we also hoped to increase the overall understanding of
how the arts can impact learning.
We invited the initial Champions of Change
researchers to examine well-established models of arts
education. We then added research efforts that looked
beyond specific programs to larger issues of the arts in
American education. Finally, we expanded our concept
beyond classrooms and schools to include out-of-school
settings. We wanted to better understand the impact of
the arts on learning, not just on formal education.
The Champions of Change Researchers
Over the last few years, seven teams of researchers
examined a variety of arts education programs using
■ James S. Catterall of the Imagination Project at
the University of California at Los Angeles
analyzed data on more than 25,000 students from
the National Educational Longitudinal Survey to
determine the relationship of engagement in the
arts to student performance and attitudes. He also
investigated the impact of intensive involvement
in instrumental music and drama/theatre on
■ Shirley Brice Heath of The Carnegie Foundation
for the Advancement of Teaching and Stanford
University, with Adelma Roach, examined after-
school programs for youth in poor communities.
The researchers were interested in the qualities
that made programs in the arts, sports, and
community service effective sites for learning and
development, and they identified features that
made involvement with the arts the most powerful
factor to success in and out of school.
■ The Center for Arts Education Research at Teachers
College, Columbia University, studied arts education
programs within elementary and junior high
schools. Researchers Judy Burton, Rob Horowitz,
and Hal Abeles created a taxonomy of learning in
the arts, and investigated the ways that learning in
the arts affected learning across the curriculum and
the conditions that made this possible.
■ James Catterall and The North Central Regional
Educational Laboratory (NCREL) evaluated
the impact of the Chicago Arts Partnership in
Education (CAPE). The CAPE network of nine
neighborhood-based partnerships of 23 local
schools, 33 arts organizations, and 1 1 commu-
nity-based organizations has pioneered new
ways to integrate the arts with learning across
■ Researchers at the National Center for Gifted and
Talented at the University of Connecticut exam-
ined the Young Talent Program and other offerings
of ArtsConnection, the largest outside provider of
arts education programming to the New York City
public school system. They also created a model of
obstacles, success factors, and outcomes for talent
development in the arts.
■ Steve Seidel and researchers from Harvard
University's Project Zero examined two education
programs of Shakespeare & Company, a profes-
sional theatre company based in Lenox,
Massachusetts. Researchers investigated the
National Institute on Teaching Shakespeare, a high
school teacher training program, as well as the Fall
Festival of Shakespeare, an annual regional experi-
ence that involves teenagers in the study and
performance of Shakespeare's works.
■ Dennie Palmer Wolf and researchers from the
Performance Assessment Collaboratives for
Education (PACE) of Harvard's Graduate School
of Education examined the Creating Original
Opera program of The Metropolitan Opera Guild.
This professional development program trains
elementary and secondary school teachers in a
process that enables young people to create,
perform, and produce an original opera.
This research initiative had many champions. We
are grateful to them all, and would like to recognize the
contributions of several who made this entire collabo-
First and foremost, we thank the late Ernie Boyer,
former president of The Carnegie Foundation for
the Advancement of Teaching and former U.S.
Commissioner of Education, for encouraging us to
work together. This partnership has been a highlight
of our professional lives, and we will always remember
Ernie as an articulate advocate for the role of the arts
in young lives.
Throughout the development and implementation
of Champions of Change, several individuals provided
critical support and counsel. They included Peter Gerber,
Vartan Gregorian, Rich Gurin, Ellen Lovell, Margaret
Mahoney, Harold Williams, and Jim Wolfensohn.
During the research process, we held several
sessions to review work in progress and identify
questions for the research to be funded. In addition to
the artists, educators, and researchers named in this
report, we benefited from the involvement of arts and
education leaders from across the country. They
included Terry Baker, Jim Berk, Bob Bucker, Jessica
Davis, Elliott Eisner, Carol Fineberg, Rita Foy, Milton
Goldberg, Derek Gordon, Doug Herbert, Sarah Howes,
Peter Martinez, Ruth Mitchell, David O'Fallon, David
Perkins, Terry Peterson, Jane Remer, Dan Scheinfeld,
Josiah Spaulding, Robert Stake, and Louise Stevens.
Under the leadership of executive director Dick
Deasy, The Arts Education Partnership has been a critical
partner for the Champions of Change research initiative.
We are also grateful to The President's Committee for the
Arts and the Humanities, honorary chair First Lady
Hillary Rodham Clinton, and executive director Harriet
Mayor Fulbright for their involvement and support since
the inception of this ambitious undertaking.
Finally, we thank the advisory committees and the
boards of our respective institutions whose support
made this extraordinary endeavor possible. We believe
their significant commitment of resources for
Champions of Change will help transform countless
young lives for the better through the arts.
Jane L. Polin
The GE Fund
The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
C HAM PI D N S
D F CHAN GE
THE SECRETARY OF EDUCATION
Washington, D.C. 20202
The ultimate challenge for American education is to place all children on pathways toward
success in school and in life. Through engagement with the arts, young people can better begin
lifelong journeys of developing their capabilities and contributing to the world around them. The
arts teach young people how to learn by giving them the first step: the desire to learn. Champions of
Change: The Impact of the Arts on Learning also shows that the arts can play a vital role in learning
how to learn, an essential ability for fostering achievement and growth throughout their lives.
American education is changing, and changing for the better. Who teaches, what is taught,
where teaching takes place, and how teaching occurs are evolving dramatically in communities
across America. And a key factor in changing American education for the better is to increase high
quality arts learning in the lives of young Americans.
Why is American education in such flux? In simplest terms, the reason is because America is
in transition. We are a more diverse society facing daunting demands from global social and
technological innovation. The American economy is shifting from a manufacturing-driven engine
to a services-driven enterprise. If young Americans are to succeed and to contribute to what
Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan describes as our "economy of ideas," they will need an
education that develops imaginative, flexible and tough-minded thinking. The arts powerfully
nurture the ability to think in this manner.
Champions of Change: The Impact of the Arts on Learning provides new and important
findings on actual learning experiences involving the arts. The report which follows presents these
research findings, complete with ground-breaking quantitative and qualitative data and analysis, as
articulated by leading American educational researchers. These researchers investigated the
content, process, and results of learning in and through the arts. Perhaps what makes their
findings so significant is that they all address ways that our nation's educational goals may be
realized though enhanced arts learning. As the researchers discovered, learning in the arts can not
only impact how young people learn to think, but also how they feel and behave.
The American public is demanding more than ever from our schools, and rightly so. Parents
and other caregivers want to equip young people for professionally and personally rewarding
careers, and they recognize that to do so we must give them greatly enriched experiences. As these
researchers have confirmed, young people can be better prepared for the 21st century through
quality learning experiences in and through the arts.
Richard Riley V
Secretary, Department of Education
Our mission is to ensure equal access to education and to promote educational excellence throughout the Nation.
^__ i SllMgl=1
WHAT THE ARTS CHANGE ABOUT THE
As a result of their varied inquiries, the
Champions of Change researchers found that
learners can attain higher levels of achievement
through their engagement with the arts. Moreover, one
of the critical research findings is that the learning in
and through the arts can help "level the playing field"
for youngsters from disadvantaged circumstances.
James Catterall's analysis of the Department of
Education's NELS:88 database of 25,000 students
demonstrates that students with high levels of arts
participation outperform "arts-poor" students by
virtually every measure. Since arts participation is highly
correlated with socioeconomic status, which is the most
significant predictor of academic performance, this
comes as little surprise. The size and diversity of the
NELS database, however, permitted Catterall to find
statistical significance in comparisons of high and low
arts participants in the lowest socioeconomic segments.
This closer look showed that high arts participation
makes a more significant difference to students from
low-income backgrounds than for high-income students.
Catterall also found clear evidence that sustained
involvement in particular art forms — music and
theater — are highly correlated with success in mathe-
matics and reading.
These findings are enriched by comparisons of
student achievement in 14 high-poverty schools in
which the Chicago Arts Partnerships in Education
(CAPE) has developed innovative arts-integrated
curricula. The inspiring turnaround of this large and
deeply troubled school district is one of the important
education stories of this decade. Schools across Chicago,
including all those in this study, have been improving
student performance. But, when compared to arts-poor
schools in the same neighborhoods, the CAPE schools
advanced even more quickly and now boast a significant
gap in achievement along many dimensions.
Schools are not the only venue in which young
people grow, learn, and achieve. Shirley Brice Heath
spent a decade studying dozens of after-school programs
for disadvantaged youth. These programs were broadly
clustered into three categories — sports/academic,
community involvement, and the arts. This research
shows that the youth in all these programs were doing
better in school and in their personal lives than were
young people from the same socioeconomic categories,
as tracked by NELS:88.
To the researchers' surprise, however, the youth in
the arts programs were doing the best. Skeptical about
this finding, Heath and her colleagues looked more
closely at the arts programs and the youth participat-
ing in them. Although the youth in the arts programs
were actually at greater "risk" than those in the other
programs, the researchers found that characteristics
particular to the arts made those programs more
effective. They now believe that a combination of
"roles, risks, and rules" offered in the arts programs
had a greater impact on these young lives.
Another broad theme emerges from the individual
Champions of Change research findings: the arts no
longer need to be characterized solely by either their
ability to promote learning in specific arts disciplines or
by their ability to promote learning in other disciplines.
These studies suggest a more dynamic, less either-or
model for the arts and overall learning that has more of
the appearance of a rotary with entrances and exits
than of a linear one-way street.
This rotary of learning provides the greater access
to higher levels of achievement. "Learning in and
Through the Arts" (LITA) and other Champions of
Change studies found much evidence that learning in
the arts has significant effects on learning in other
domains. LITA suggests a dynamic model in which
learning in one domain supports and stimulates
learning in others, which in turn supports and
stimulates learning in a complex web of influence
described as a "constellation." LITA and the other
researchers provide compelling evidence that student
achievement is heightened in an environment with
high quality arts education offerings and a school
climate supportive of active and productive learning.
Why the Arts Change the Learning Experience
When well taught, the arts provide young people
with authentic learning experiences that engage their
minds, hearts, and bodies. The learning experiences are
real and meaningful for them.
While learning in other disciplines may often
focus on development of a single skill or talent, the
arts regularly engage multiple skills and abilities.
Engagement in the arts — whether the visual arts,
dance, music, theatre or other disciplines — nurtures
the development of cognitive, social, and personal
competencies. Although the Champions of Change
researchers conducted their investigations and
presented their findings independently, a remarkable
consensus exists among their findings:
■ The arts reach students who are not otherwise
Young people who are disengaged from schools
and other community institutions are at the greatest
risk of failure or harm. The researchers found that the
arts provided a reason, and sometimes the only
reason, for being engaged with school or other
organizations. These young people would otherwise
be left without access to any community of learners.
The studies concerning ArtsConnection, CAPE, and
learning during non-school hours are of particular
■ The arts reach students in ways that they are not
otherwise being reached.
Other recent educational research has produced
insights into different styles of learning. This research
also addresses examples of young people who were
considered classroom failures, perhaps "acting out"
because conventional classroom practices were not
engaging them. These "problem" students often
became the high-achievers in arts learning settings.
Success in the arts became a bridge to learning and
eventual success in other areas of learning. The
ArtsConnection study provides case studies of such
students; the "Learning In and Through the Arts"
research examines the issue of learner self-perception
in great depth.
■ The arts connect students to themselves and
Creating an artwork is a personal experience.
The student draws upon his or her personal resources
to generate the result. By engaging his or her whole
person, the student feels invested in ways that are
deeper than "knowing the answer." Beyond the
individual, Steve Seidel and Dennie Palmer Wolf show
how effective arts learning communities are formed
and operated. James Catterall also describes how the
attitudes of young people toward one another are
altered through their arts learning experiences.
■ The arts transform the environment for learning.
When the arts become central to the learning
environment, schools and other settings become
places of discovery. According to the Teachers College
research team and those examining the CAPE schools,
the very school culture is changed, and the conditions
for learning are improved. Figurative walls between
classrooms and disciplines are broken down. Teachers
are renewed. Even the physical appearance of a school
building is transformed through the representations of
learning. The Heath research team also found "visible"
changes in nonschool settings.
■ The arts provide learning opportunities for the
adults in the lives of young people.
Those held responsible for the development of
children and youth — teachers, parents, and other
adults — are rarely given sufficient or significant
opportunities for their own continuing education.
With adults participating in lifelong learning, young
people gain an understanding that learning in any
field is a never-ending process. The roles of the adults
are also changed — in effective programs, the adults
become coaches — active facilitators of learning. Heath
and other researchers here describe the altered
dynamics between young and less young learners.
■ The arts provide new challenges for those students
already considered successful.
Boredom and complacency are barriers to
success. For those young people who outgrow their
established learning environments, the arts can offer
a chance for unlimited challenge. In some situations
described in the research, older students may also
teach and mentor younger students. In others, young
people gain from the experience of working with
professional artists. The ArtsConnection researchers
in general, and James Catterall in particular, explored
the impact of intensive involvement in specific art
■ The arts connect learning experiences to the world
of real work.
The world of adult work has changed, and the arts
learning experiences described in the research show
remarkable consistency with the evolving workplace.
Ideas are what matter, and the ability to generate
ideas, to bring ideas to life and to communicate them
is what matters to workplace success. Working in a
classroom or a studio as an artist, the young person is
learning and practicing future workplace behaviors.
A company is a company, whether producing an opera
or a breakthrough technological service.
How the Arts Change the Learning Experience
The programs and schools examined by the
Champions of Change researchers were selected
because they appeared to be models of excellence that
were making a real difference to young people. Their
research helps us identify the principles and require-
ments that make these arts learning models work. By
helping to better define the characteristics of effective
arts learning programs, the Champions of Change
researchers have also done a great service.
Education reformers and researchers have learned
a great deal about "what works" in recent years. In
examining the work of Shakespeare & Company, Steve
Seidel cites the general characteristics of "project-
based learning" as factors that also support effective
arts learning. In Real Learning, Real Work, author
Adria Steinberg identifies six elements that are critical
to the design of project-based learning: authenticity,
academic rigor, applied learning, active exploration,
adult relationships, and assessment practices. Seidel
also emphasizes that the best assessment of a person's
understanding is a product that "puts that under-
standing to work." Learning is deepest when learners
have the capacity to represent what they have learned,
and the multiple disciplines of the arts all provide
modes of representation.
The quality arts learning experiences described by
the Champions of Change researchers regularly contain
these project-based learning elements. The best
programs display them in great breadth and depth. To
be effective, the arts learning experience will also
■ Enable young people to have direct involvement
with the arts and artists.
Young people become and see themselves as artists.
Whether creating art works, as in the Creating Original
Opera program, or performing, as in the Fall Festival
of Shakespeare program, or perhaps even teaching
younger student artists, as in the ArtsConnection
program, the students learn various disciplines through
hands-on arts experiences. They actively engage with
artistic content, materials, and methods.
■ Require significant staff development.
The best teachers are life-long students. The
teachers involved in the staff development programs
examined by the Champions of Change researchers
describe life-changing experiences that transform
their professional lives. High-impact programs
demand both adequate staff preparation and strong
administrative support. Well-trained staff and
teachers also become leaders for institutional and
■ Support extended engagement in the
Opportunities to achieve artistic and learning
excellence cannot be confined to forty-five minute
time periods. Sustained engagement during individual
sessions as well as expanded program length support
enhanced learning opportunities. These learning
experiences are also not limited to place; school is just
one of many settings where this learning occurs.
Superior results are also associated with the concept of
"practice" and the development of a sense of "craft."
■ Encourage self-directed learning.
Students learning in and through the arts become
their own toughest critics. The students are motivated
to learn not just for test results or other performance
outcomes, but for the learning experience itself.
According the to the ArtsConnection study, these
learners develop the capacity to experience "flow," self-
regulation, identity, and resilience — qualities regularly
associated with personal success.
■ Promote complexity in the learning experience.
Students who might otherwise complain of
boredom become fully challenged. Unlike other learning
experiences that seek right or wrong answers, engage-
ment in the arts allows for multiple outcomes. Seidel
found that when "refusing to simplify" Shakespeare's
challenging texts, students became passionately engaged
in learning classic works which high schoolers so often
consider boring. Effective learning in the arts is both
complex and multi-dimensional.
■ Allow management of risk by the learners.
Rather than see themselves as "at-risk," students
become managers of risk who can make decisions
concerning artistic outcomes and even their lives. The
students learn to manage risk through "permission to
fail," according to the Shakespeare & Company study,
and then take risks "to intensify the quality of their
interactions, products, and performances," according
to Heath and her colleagues.
■ Engage community leaders and resources.
Another recent study, Gaining the Arts
Advantage: Lessons from School Districts That Value
Arts Education, found that "the single most critical
factor in sustaining arts education in (their) schools
is the active involvement of influential segments of
the community in shaping and implementing the
policies and programs of the district." Similarly,
effective arts learning out of school also requires the
active engagement of the community. The CAPE and
Heath studies show a process that attracts and builds
on this engagement from parents and other commu-
Policy Implications of the Champions of
The Champions of Change studies examined the
messy, often hard-to-define real world of learning,
both in and out of schools. As a result, these research
findings have immediate relevance for both policy and
practice in American education today.
For example, if we now know that arts experi-
ences help level the educational playing field for
disadvantaged students, as revealed by James Catterall,
then we need to bring more proven arts learning
resources to these students. If arts learning can help
energize or re-energize the teaching workforce, as
described by Steve Seidel, then we must look to the
arts both as a vehicle for preparing entrants to the
teaching profession and as a means of supporting its
more-experienced members. Looking beyond class-
rooms, Shirley Brice Heath found the profound
impact the arts can have on learning for youth outside
school settings. If this is so, we must expand quality
arts learning programs outside of schools as well.
In the CAPE model, the researchers find that arts
learning can have a defined impact on the academic
performance of students in an urban setting. If well-
constructed partnerships between school and arts
organizations can increase student achievement, then
such partnerships must be nurtured and replicated. In
another urban program, ArtsConnection researchers
define the role of the arts in enabling students to
overcome obstacles to success; again, such experiences
should be made more widely available. Researcher
Dennie Palmer Wolf describes the impact of group
versus individual learning generated through a
collaborative arts experience. For this approach to
grow, a more serious commitment to developing
communities of arts learners, rather than just oppor-
tunities for "stars," is required. If sustained, integrated,
and complex projects, like producing an opera, a
Shakespeare production, or a visual arts exhibition,
significantly deepen the learning process, as these
studies suggest, then school schedules must also be
modified to make such experiences possible.
The findings of the individual research studies are
worthy of the reader's careful review.
We owe a great debt to these researchers for their
diligence and insights; we can only repay this debt by
heeding their words and seeking systemic ways to
make the arts a meaningful part of every American
child's life. Together, we can make the everyday
learning experiences of young Americans less ordinary
and more extraordinary.
These Champions of Change studies demonstrate
how involvement with the arts provides unparalleled
opportunities for learning, enabling young people to
reach for and attain higher levels of achievement. The
research provides both examples and evidence of why
the arts should be more widely recognized for its
current and potential contributions to the improve-
ment of American education.
Similarly, the experiences we offer too many young
people outside of school are often limited in their
purpose and resulting impact. They provide recreation,
but no sense of creation. They provide recess, but no
sense of success. Arts learning outside of schools can
also enhance the sense of accomplishment and well-
being among our young people.
This research provides compelling evidence that the
arts can and do serve as champions of change in learning.
Yet realizing the full potential of learning in and through
the arts for all American children will require heroic acts
from all segments of our society. With the 21st century
now upon us, we, too, must be champions of change; we
must meet and exceed the challenge of giving our young
people the best possible preparation we can offer them.
To do so, we must make involvement with the arts a basic
part of their learning experiences. In doing so, we will
become champions for our children and their children.
To obtain additional copies
of this summary or
a copy of the full
Champions of Change report,
contact the President's Committee
on the Arts and the Humanities
by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
or writing to
1100 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Suite 526,
Washington, DC 20506.
You can also access the report online at
GE Fund's award-winning arts-in-education program supports
model partnerships between schools and cultural organizations.
Through advancing the role of the arts in education, the GE
Fund promotes both skill development and community involve-
ment in schools and arts settings nationwide.
Known as an innovator in corporate philanthropy, the GE Fund
is a catalyst for improving the education and well-being of men,
women and children around the world. As the principal vehicle
for the GE Company's philanthropy, the GE Fund supports a
wide range of education, social service, arts, environmental, and
other charitable organizations in the United States and abroad.
The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation is a
private, independent grant-making institution dedicated to
helping groups and individuals foster lasting improvement in the
human condition. The Foundation seeks the development of
healthy individuals and effective communities; peace within and
among nations; responsible choices about human reproduction;
and a global ecosystem capable of supporting healthy human
societies. The Foundation pursues this mission by supporting
research, policy development, dissemination, education and
training, and practice.
ARTS EDUCATION PARTNERSHIP
One Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20001
ON THE ARTS AND THE HUMANITIES
1100 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Suite 526,
Washington, DC 20506
THE GE FUND
THE JDHN D. AND CATHERINE
THE JOHN D. AND CATHERINE T.