June 22-26, 2001



WHEREAS, in 1994, Congress broke new ground with GOALS 2000 national education goals legislation by including in federal law recognition of the arts as a core element of a substantive curriculum. This recognition has since opened the door for schools and community partners to access support for arts education through the various K-12 programs of the U.S. Department of Education (USED);and

WHEREAS, a child's education is not complete unless it includes the arts. A comprehensive strategy for a complete education includes high-quality, sequential instruction in the classroom, as well as participation and learning in community-based arts programs. Active participation and learning in the arts improve overall academic achievement, socialization, and preparation for college and the workforce; and

WHEREAS, historically, inner-city and rural children have not had the same opportunities as children living in wealthier suburban school districts to learn in, through and about the arts. Public schools have the responsibility for providing a complete education for all children. Students face challenges in knowing how to communicate in many ways, and schools must prepare them to meet the challenges; and

WHEREAS, arts literacy is the knowledge and skills students develop in learning to respond to, perform, and create works of art, constituting a basic form of literacy required to communicate successfully and function in today's global, multi-media, information age; and

WHEREAS, the arts make a tremendous impact on the developmental growth of every child and have proven to level the "learning field" across socio-economic boundaries; and

WHEREAS, the arts help children develop the total mind and body by encouraging reflection and higher level thinking as well as active learning; and

WHEREAS, the arts help stimulate and develop the imagination and refine cognitive and creative skills as well as critical thinking; and

WHEREAS, the arts teach children the skills necessary to succeed in life, including developing an informed perception; articulating a vision; learning to solve problems and make decisions; building self-esteem and self-discipline; developing the ability to imagine what might be; and accepting responsibility to complete tasks from start to finish; and

WHEREAS, the arts nurture important values, including team-building skills; respecting alternative points of view; and appreciating and being aware of different cultures and traditions; and

WHEREAS, the arts have a measurable impact on youth at risk in deterring delinquent behavior and truancy problems while increasing overall academic performance among those youth engaged in after-school and summer arts programs targeted towards delinquency prevention; and

WHEREAS, the arts help children develop literacy skills in reading, writing, speaking, listening and viewing. The arts also help children achieve a high level of competency in using convergent and divergent thinking skills; problem-solving skills; and comparing and contrasting skills; and

WHEREAS, the 107th Congress is currently considering major reauthorization and appropriations legislation for the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA),

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the United States Conference of Mayors urges Congress to approve authorization and appropriation legislation that will specifically ensure a place for arts education in all USED elementary and secondary education programs. The federal commitment to education must:

  • Continue to include the arts as a core learning subject;
  • Provide professional development opportunities for teachers in the arts;
  • Fund after-school arts learning opportunities;
  • Conduct national assessments of learning in the arts; and
  • Support arts education partnerships between schools and community arts and cultural organizations.

Projected Cost: