ArtsBlog: 4 out of 5 Dentists Surveyed Recommend Arts in Education

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For those of us that grew up in or around the 1970’s, the most recognizable use of data was in a chewing gum commercial.

“4 out of 5 dentists surveyed recommend sugarless gum for their patients who chew gum.”

Brilliant advertising.  It was brief, easy to understand, and repeated ad nauseam …….. and so it stuck, like gum.

In the 21st century, the world is filled with data. And the field of arts education is no different. The challenge is choosing data that stands out and helps move the needle on the issues we care about.

As we seek to expand arts and creative learning opportunities in our public schools, it is essential to ask the question: How can we use the data to not only report out on our work but to also make a measureable and positive impact? Here is one story about how data-driven reporting catalyzed a major financial investment to address educational inequity in the nation’s largest school district.

Since 2006-07 New York City’s Department of Education (DOE) has issued annual reports covering a wide array of arts education indicators, many broken down by arts discipline and by grade level. While this data is invaluable and helps the DOE identify challenge areas and direct resources, from the standpoint of the public the data can quickly become overwhelming. Last year 1,564 public schools provided data and the report contained 116 pages and 143 figures and tables.

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