Schools to Get Star Turn for Arts Education; D.C.'S Savoy on Actors' List for Visit
Byline: Ben Wolfgang, THE WASHINGTON TIMES
Carrie Bradshaw might not be a role model at the elementary school, but the Obama administration hopes Sarah Jessica Parker can be.
As part of its Turnaround Arts initiative announced Monday, the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities will dispatch Miss Parker and such other stars as Forest Whitaker and Kerry Washington to eight elementary and middle schools across the nation, where they will advocate for more theater, dance and other arts courses.
The eight institutions, including D.C.'s Savoy Elementary School, were chosen from a pool of 25 applicants, all in high-poverty areas and eligible for the Education Department's School Improvement Grant (SIG) program.
Arts and music education are absolutely critical to providing all students with a world-class, well-rounded education, and nowhere are they more essential than in low-performing schools, said Education Secretary Arne Duncan. I'm confident this initiative will prove that the arts are an effective strategy for improving student engagement and achievement while turning around schools.
The effort, White House officials told reporters on a Monday conference call, comes at no cost to taxpayers, other than the roughly $14 million already awarded to the eight schools through the SIG program.
Private sector and nonprofit partners, such as Crayola, the Aspen Institute and others, will kick in additional money to provide each school with thousands of dollars worth of new musical instruments, art supplies and other desperately needed items.
Those partners will also sponsor on-site professional development at each location, designed to educate teachers and principals on how to implement arts and music curricula. …