WHEREAS, the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) and applicable state and local standards have added intensity and focus to the movement toward higher standards and accountability in America’s schools, and it has changed the landscape of public education and the needs of educators; and

WHEREAS, the local responses to NCLB are causing a “crowding out” of non-core subjects in many schools as the emphasis to improve reading and mathematics performance increases; and

WHEREAS, the arts are listed as a “core” subject in many of the state standards but in practice the amount of time devoted to the arts or even available to students on an elective basis are being cramped under the pressure to meet state and federal performance standards particularly in reading and mathematics; and

WHEREAS, many arts organizations such as National Association of Music Educators, Young Audiences, Americans for the Arts, and VH 1’s Save the Music Foundation, believe the current methods of attaining performance standards do not include the integration of the arts as a means to build student skills in these other subject areas to attain the standards thus eroding, marginalizing or entirely eliminating the arts from schools; and

WHEREAS, part of a basic education the arts as subjects themselves can enliven the intellect, spark an interest in learning, enrich the humanity in schools, and expand the abilities of students to learn, work and live successful lives; and

WHEREAS, when integrated with other subjects, the arts often enliven, enrich and expand the options for teaching and learning of other subjects including pedagogical strategies and examples used to explain mathematical concepts or provide alternative means to teach reading; and

WHEREAS, the arts can be a direct path, not a detour or diversion, toward understanding and conveying command of both knowledge and skills in other subject and that command and creativity in applying the arts can resolve problems, express viewpoints, add depth and breadth within a subject as well as make the curricula grater than the sum of its parts; and WHEREAS, teaching and learning through the arts is ripe for a breakthrough in lesson design that puts the arts within the economy of time, the demands of content standards in other subjects, and the capabilities of many teachers who would be eager to engage their students through the arts if practical means and methods were available;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, The U.S. Conference of Mayors urges states and local school systems to encourage the use of the arts as a means to engage students to attain the skills necessary to reach high content standards in all subjects; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that The U.S. Conference of Mayors encourages the federal, state and local governments to support and provide opportunities and resources for arts education programs including those for teachers to enable them to integrate and incorporate the arts into the core curriculum of other subject areas because the arts and culture have a significant importance in enhancing the ability to learn in a variety of ways and approaches and in the long term builds an appreciation for the arts that can be translated in different ways within cities.

©2005 The U.S. Conference of Mayors
Tom Cochran, Executive Director
1620 Eye Street, NW, Washington, DC 20006
Tel. 202.293.7330 ~ Fax 202.293.2352