Faust/Marsalis: Why the Arts Matter

Amidst the hullabaloo about Common Core standards in schools, the arts have been swept into the corner. This insightful article points right to the heart of the matter: young people today, more than ever, need to engage their entire beings in their learning. Through exploration, experimentation, and relating the world to their unique sense of self, a wholistic education is possible. Self-expression is a basic human need. The ability to think critically about anything and everything is an essential developmental skill. The arts provide both. Why are we limiting our young people’s learning and potential for enlightenment?

Diane Ravitch's blog

Drew Faust, president of Harvard University, and Wynton Marsalis, master musician, wrote a joint article for USA Today about the importance of arts education.

They wrote:

“We hear widespread calls for “outcomes” we can measure and for education geared to specific employment needs, but many of today’s students will hold jobs that have not yet been invented, deploying skills not yet defined. We not only need to equip them with the ability to answer the questions relevant to the world we now inhabit; we must also enable them to ask the right questions to shape the world to come.

“We need education that nurtures judgment as well as mastery, ethics and values as well as analysis. We need learning that will enable students to interpret complexity, to adapt, and to make sense of lives they never anticipated. We need a way of teaching that encourages them to develop understanding of…

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