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Secretary Riley Speech Touts Music/Arts Education

U.S. Secretary of Education Richard W. Riley touted the importance of music and arts education in a speech on Thursday (3/19) focusing solely on this topic during his appearance at an arts magnet high school in New Haven, Connecticut. For those of you who were looking for encouraging words to counter balance the relentless "Reading and Math, Reading and Math, Reading and Math" mantra from the Administration, this comes as a welcome and pleasant relief. Some excerpts:

"I have long believed in the important role that music and the arts can play in helping students learn, achieve, and succeed."

"But there are also very tangible and measurable benefits to education and academic success that come from learning about, and participating in the arts and music. One study showed that pre-schoolers who took keyboard lessons and joined in group singing scored higher on tests measuring spatial reasoning and develop better abstract reasoning than those who did not -- activities that are of critical importance in later development of math, science and engineering skills."

"The good news is that more and more people are beginning to understand this very positive relationship between the arts and learning. As President Clinton said: 'We know there's so much evidence that music has a positive impact on academic performance, on social skills, on self-confidence. Anything this country can do to save these programs for the schools and for the children should be done.'"

There is much, much, more than we have room for here. But, fear not! We have transcribed the speech and will have it placed into "Breaking News" on the AMC web site ASAP ( It is something every parent, teacher, school board member and above all arts educator should see!!

Source: U.S. Department of Education

This article was copied from the Music Education Online Site.