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Encouraging Support Of Arts And Music Education

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Friday, June 16, 2000


"Learning improves in school environments where there are comprehensive music and arts programs. They increase the ability of young people to do math. They increase the ability of young people to read. And most important of all, they're a lot of fun."

President Bill Clinton
Friday, June 16, 2000

Today, in East Harlem, NY, President Clinton visited a public elementary school to highlight the importance of music education as part of "VH1 Save The Music Today!" week. The President underscored his commitment to music and art education and their role in helping students achieve their full potential. In addition, the VH1 Save the Music Foundation announced a major donation to restore music education in New York City public schools.

STRESSING THE IMPORTANCE OF MUSIC AND ARTS EDUCATION. President Clinton visited PS 96, a formerly low-performing school that has turned itself around with smaller class sizes, after-school programs, school uniforms, and more parental involvement, and is now greatly expanding its music education program. During his visit, the President highlighted that a comprehensive music education is a valuable tool in improving academic performance. Research has shown that involvement in music and arts programs:

  • improves a child's early cognitive development;
  • boosts basic math and reading abilities;
  • raises self-esteem;
  • encourages self-discipline, ability to work in teams, spatial reasoning skills, and school attendance;
  • increases the likelihood of graduating from high school and attending college; and
  • discourages involvement with gangs and substance abuse.

The President encouraged support for Save the Music, a non-profit initiative to restore music education programs in America's public schools and raise awareness of the positive impact music participation has on students. Since its inception in 1997, Save The Music has supported more than 120,000 children in music education programs, with the goal of restoring these programs for one million children over the next ten years.

A RECORD OF PROMOTING ARTS IN EDUCATION. Over the past 7 ½ years, the Clinton-Gore Administration has worked to give visibility to the importance of the arts in children's education, including the following:

  • In 1994, fought for the inclusion of strong, supportive language about the importance of arts education in the Goals 2000: Educate America Act and the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act;
  • In 1995, created the Arts Education Partnership, a coalition of over 120 non-profit arts and education organizations to promote research and advocacy and give valuable information to parents and educators about the positive effects of arts education;
  • As part of the new 21st Century Community Learning Program, encouraged after-school programs to involve students in arts activities - over the last four years, this program has increased from $1 million to $450 million;
  • In 1998, reinstated the arts in the National Assessment of Educational Progress and found that instruction in the arts, including music, improved student performance; and
  • Under the First Lady's leadership, released two important reports by the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities highlighting successful in-school and out-of-school programs for students in the arts.

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