The NEA recently released a study called The Arts and Achievement in At-Risk Youth: Findings from Four Longitudinal Studies.
The study is introduced with observations from NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman:
"Having the arts in young people’s lives is essential; we know that intuitively. Parents sing to their babies, dance with their toddlers, and occupy children with crayons and paper. And there was a time in this country when schools did their parts: bands, choruses, theatricals, and art studios used to fill the days along- side the 3 Rs, gym, social studies, science, and the rest.
But over the past four decades, budget pressures and an increasing focus on just reading and math have crowded the arts out of too many school days. What’s lost? The chance for a child to express himself. The chance for the idiosyncratic child who has not yet succeeded elsewhere to shine. A sense of play, of fun, of discovery."
2) At-risk teenagers or young adults with a history of intensive arts experiences show achievement levels closer to, and in some cases exceeding, the levels shown by the general population studied.