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Working with national arts organizations, the Partnership for 21st Century Skills (P21) has developed a first-of-its-kind Arts skills map that clearly defines how arts education promotes key 21st-century skills. The map, the fifth in a series of core content maps from P21 (others include Geography, Science, Social Studies, and English), gives examples how critical thinking and problem solving, communication, collaboration, and creativity and innovation (P21’s “four Cs”) can be fused within arts curricula (including dance, music, theater, and visual and media arts). The map comes at a critical time for arts education in schools, which often are the first programs to be cut when budgets are tight. Having an outline of how arts education can reinforce skills that are viewed as critical for success in the new global economy could help keep arts programs in schools. “We think that this map will work as a motivator for administrators, as well as funders, when considering art programs in today’s schools,” said Michael Blakeslee, senior deputy executive director of the National Association for Music Education. For each skill, the map cites specific student outcomes and provides examples of projects for grades four, eight, and 12. Each example is marked with a symbol, allowing readers to know whether the example is for visual arts, dance, music, or theater. http://www.p21.org/documents/P21_arts_map_final.pdf

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Jeff Festa