Research & Reports

Everyone who has experienced the arts or observes students learning in and through the arts, can attest to the transformative power of the arts. However, anecdotes are not a sufficient basis for policy and curriculum. Thus, we look to rigorous research and analysis that demonstrates the impact of arts education on student learning, academic achievement and personal development.

Florida Research & Studies

2012 Cohort Study

2008 Cohort Study

Data from the Florida Department of Education data vault, compiled at the request of State Senator Wise of Duval County, was analyzed by Dr. Steve Kelly of Florida State University. The data compare various measures of student achievement (grade point average, SAT scores, school completion) to the number of arts credits earned. Dr. Kelly found the positive correlation between student achievement and high school arts credits overwhelming. This work was directed and funded by the Florida Music Educator Association (FMEA).

Critical Success Factors

Leadership - At both the district level (superintendent and school board) and at the school level (principal), leadership was the top factor for strong arts programs. In the school, the principal provides the vision and direction for the entire school, as well as pragmatic support in areas such as funding, scheduling, and facilities. Clear policies and initiatives ensure stability necessary for programs to reach their full potential.

Arts Teachers - Highly qualifieded, fully certified, and dedicated arts teachers are essential to the success of the arts education program. Longevity at a school is important as it brings stability and consistency to the program.

Curriculum - An arts education curriculum that is goal-oriented, standards-based, and taught in a sequential manner is mandatory for success. Programs must be accountable for student learning and demonstrate achievement of significant learning outcomes through the use of appropriate assessment measures.

Facilities, Scheduling, and Funding - Programs thrive when adequate facilities and equipment are provided, the schedule allows universal student access to arts classes and programs and susufficient funds are available to support the materials and experiences that are part of the curriculum.

Community Connection - Arts programs typically are a key link between parents and the school, bringing parental involvement in ways otherwise not possible. The connections reach beyond parents to include the business, civic, and cultural community. When the arts program is a public part of the school’s identity, the program is enhanced and the community benefits.

School Culture - Respect between academic subject area and arts teachers is a key indicator of a strong program.

2010 longitudinal study  of 26 Florida schools with exemplary arts education programs. Study funded by the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

Arts and Economic Prosperity: Florida

Links to the studies list below are available from the Florida Department of State/Division of Cultural Affairs: CLICK HERE

Florida: Creative Industries Profile

Economic Impact of Non-Profit Arts and Cultural Organizations on the State Economy of Florida

Selection of Local Economic Impact Studies

Randy Cohen, Vice President for Research and Policy at Americans for the Arts was the keynote speaker at the October 25, 2011, Culture Builds Florida Conference held by the Florida Department of State. An eloquent spokesperson for the arts and culture, Cohen's message is firmly rooted in arts education. See the presentation with notes HERE.

Arts Education and STEM Education

Expanding Education from STEM to STEAM: Preparing Florida’s Students to Thrive in the 21st Century
(Paper submitted to Roadmap to Florida's Future)

National Research Studies & Reports

The Wallace Foundation provides a wealth of information and resources on subjects relating to arts education.

  • Harvard's Project Zero published The Qualities of Quality: Understanding Excellence in Arts Education. It is available for download (all 364 pages). This is the report from. Published June 2009 - we have been so busy trying to save arts education, have we overlooked the quality issues?
  • Champions of Change, The Impact of the Arts on Learning, edited by Ted Fiske, The Arts Education Network, 1999, at artsedge.kennedy-center.or
  • "Critical Evidence: How the Arts Benefit Student Achievement,” by Sandra S. Ruppert; National Assembly of State Agencies, 2006 at
  • Using Arts & Culture to Stimulate State Economic Development, National Governors Association Center for Best Practices.
  • Tough Choices or Tough Times: The Report of the New Commission on the Skills of the American Workforce (Executive Summary)

 Arts education in America: What the declines mean for arts participation

 Reinvesting in Arts Education

 Arts Education in Public Elementary and Secondary Schools

Thought Leaders

US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan urges states to maintain arts instruction. In a letter to governors, secretary Duncan urged states to consider student outcomes first when they cut education budgets. The quote below comes from Duncan's Guidance on Productivity which outlines best practices for maintaining the integrity of the education system while balancing the budget.

Avoid short-sighted cost-cutting. Efforts to increase productivity should not be mistaken for the short-sighted cost-cutting many states and districts have engaged in over the years to reduce education spending. Even in an era of tight budgets, cutting back in a manner that damages educational quality and hurts children is the wrong thing to do. Short-sighted cuts include: reducing the number of days in the school year, decreasing the amount of instructional time, eliminating instruction in the arts and foreign languages, eliminating high-quality early learning programs, abandoning promising reforms, and indiscriminately laying off talented teachers be they new, mid-career, or veteran.

Florida DOE Memo to Superintendents Supports Arts Education

The attached memo was sent to Superintendents, Assistant Superintendents, and Arts Supervisors in every school district in Florida. It addresses the important findings of the 2007 Graduating Cohort which found a positive correlation between the amount of arts education and academic performance. (See information below under Research). This is an important message as we go into the budget process for next year. It voices clear support from the Florida Department of Education for arts Education.
Read the full memo here.

NOTE: David Houle is the keynote speaker at the FAAE Arts Achieve! Model School Dinner, that kicks off our annual Leadership Summit, on June 14 in Tampa. Please join us for the Summit or attend just the dinner. More information and Registration HERE.

David Houle: Shift Ed and Shift Age, two books by David Houle give this futurist's vision for the 21st Century and the important role of creativity and innovation. See video, subscribe to his free newsletter, and read more.

Daniel H. Pink writes of our entry into the Conceptual Age where we will be a society of creators and innovators, and argues compellingly for the importance of the right brain.

Sir Ken Robinson - Arts and Minds, Conversations about the Arts in Education, “How Creativity, Education and the Arts Shape a Modern Economy,” an Interview with Sir Ken Robinson, Senior Advisor, Education Policy, Getty Foundation, published by the Education Commission of the States, April 2005 at