The real value of arts education is to transmit the key ideas of human civilization from one generation to the next. Without the arts, we would not understand our own history. However, the arts remain marginalized in our schools, despite the hunger of teachers to offer a well-rounded curriculum. In low-performing schools, a climate of fear has sucked the joy and engagement out of learning as we focus purely on reading and match scores. Teachers however long for the freedom to offer inspiring and fun curriculum. What if a "creativity index" measured the success of teaching the arts in schools, as is now being tried in some states? What if teachers could win awards for having the most creative students?
Mark Slavkin is Vice President for Education at the Music Center Performing Arts Center of Los Angeles County, where he directs programs aimed at advancing arts education in schools across L.A. County. Mark serves on the Executive Committee for "Arts for All," a coalition bringing the arts back to the core K-12 curriculum.