House Concurrent Resolution No. 26



            Whereas, providing art, drama, and music education teaches our children to compete creatively in our global economy; promotes greater success in math, reading, problem solving, decision making, self-esteem, self-discipline, and accepting responsibility to finish tasks; and contributes to higher attendance and graduation rates; and


            Whereas, comprehensive arts education is eroding in our public schools, with instructional time for art and music being reduced by 22% in school districts; and


            Whereas, the federal government recognizes the importance of art education in our children's education by designating it as a required core academic subject; and


            Whereas, students who participate in the arts outperform those who do not on virtually every measure. Researchers have found that sustained learning in music and theater correlates to greater success in math and reading, with students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds reaping the greatest benefits; and


            Whereas, the arts are uniquely able to boost learning and achievement for young children, students with disabilities, students from economically disadvantaged circumstances, and students needing remedial instruction. A 1992 Auburn University study found significant increases in self-concept of at-risk children participating in an arts program that included music, movement, dramatics, and arts, as measured by the Piers-Harris Children's Self-Concept Scale; and


            Whereas, skills learned through the discipline of music transfer to study skills, communication skills, and cognitive skills useful in every part of the curriculum. In 1992, researchers at the University of Montreal used various brain imaging techniques to investigate brain activity during musical tasks and found that sight-reading musical scores and playing music both activate regions in all four of the cortex's lobes, and that parts of the cerebellum are also activated during those tasks. Likewise, in 1994, researchers in Leipzig found that brain scans of musicians showed larger planum temporale (a brain region related to some reading skills) than those of non-musicians. They also found that the musicians had a thicker corpus callosum (the bundle of nerve fibers that connects the two halves of the brain) than those of non-musicians, especially for those who had begun their training before the age of seven; and


            Whereas, researchers have found music therapy to be beneficial in unlocking the social interactions autism prevents in autistic children and in treating people who may not be able to speak as a result of brain damage from a stroke; and


            Whereas, the schools that produce the highest academic achievement in the United States today are spending 20% to 30% of the day on the arts. United States Department of Education data from 1999 show that students who report consistently high levels of involvement in instrumental music during the middle school and high school years show "significantly higher levels of mathematics proficiency by grade 12"; and


            Whereas, with music in schools, students connect to each other better, resulting in greater camaraderie, fewer fights, less racism, and reduced use of hurtful sarcasm. With music instruction in schools, teachers found that students were less aggressive. Nine out of ten adults and teenagers who play instruments agree that music making brings the family closer together. College-age musicians are emotionally healthier than their non-musician counterparts for performance anxiety, emotional concerns, and alcohol-related problems; and


            Whereas, the National Association for Music Education reports that schools that have music programs have significantly higher attendance rates (93.3% as compared to 84.9%) and graduation rates (90.2% as compared to 72.9%). As the percentage of students enrolled in a music class increases, so does the graduation rate of the school:


            Now, therefore, be it resolved that the members of the House of Representatives of the Ninety-fourth General Assembly, Second Regular Session, the Senate concurring therein, hereby acknowledge the commitment of school districts in Missouri to enrich the lives of students through the fine arts and commend their efforts; and


            Be it further resolved that the General Assembly recognizes the importance of fine arts in our children's public education and the profound effect they have on the ability of students to interact, communicate, learn, and achieve in a global economy, where every advantage available is necessary; and


            Be it further resolved that the General Assembly strongly urges and encourages the Governor of the State of Missouri and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to secure these advantages to our students by seeking additional funding for fine arts education from all available sources, including federal grants and aid; and


            Be it further resolved that the Chief Clerk of the Missouri House of Representatives be instructed to prepare properly inscribed copies of this resolution for Governor Matt Blunt, the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, and each school district in Missouri.