Art classes don’t improve students’ academic skills, conclude two researchers. Ellen Winner and Lois Hetland of Project Zero, an arts-education program at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, argue “art education should be championed for its own sake, not because of a wishful sentiment that classes in painting, dance and music improve pupilsâ€™ math and reading skills and standardized test scores,” reports the New York Times.
Their new book analyzes visual art classes and finds benefits — just no effect on reading or math achievement.
â€œStudents who study the arts seriously are taught to see better, to envision, to persist, to be playful and learn from mistakes, to make critical judgments and justify such judgments,â€ the authors conclude.
Some studies have found students who take art are above-average students. Winner and Hetland see a chicken-egg problem: “academically strong schools tend to have strong arts programs” and “families who value academic achievement also value achievement in the arts.”