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Why STEM should be spelled STEAM. - Where All the School's a Stage, and the List of Success Stories Is Long - Why all parents should care about arts education

August 1, 2017View for printing

When Bre-Yanna Cameron was in middle school, singing and acting meant one thing to her: escape. Performing was the only time she felt liberated -- no bullies, no fights, no peer pressure, no doubts.

A dedicated drama teacher saw in Ms. Cameron's clear, soulful voice a lifeline out of the inner city and encouraged her to apply to New World School of the Arts, a small, rigorous magnet high school in Miami that draws a diverse group of talented actors, musicians, dancers and visual artists. Auditions (or portfolios) are the only way into the school -- grades and attendance are irrelevant.

At his school, which is 47 percent African-American, 50 percent of ninth graders arrive at below grade level, he said. By the end of senior year, 97 to 100 percent graduate on time and are college bound. This year's 90 graduates were offered a total of $14 million in scholarships, and many are headed to top-tier colleges, including Juilliard, University of Chicago, Vassar, Middlebury and the Royal Academy of Music in London.


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Why all parents should care about arts education

"Art has a broadening effect because it presents a perspective on reality that challenges preconceived ideas and makes kids look at something from outside their comfort zone."

By Jill Coody Smits

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