Dr. Kathleen Thomas Recently Featured in an International Blog Post by Economists Talk Art
8-16-16 - Dr. Kathleen Thomas, Associate Professor of Economics, was recently featured in an international blog by Economists Talk Art, for her research regarding public school courses in visual art, music, theatre, and dance-- and their potential to influence both arts participation and school commitment. Below is an excerpt of the article:
Student enrollment in public school courses in visual art, music, theatre, and dance is linked to reduced high school dropout even after controlling for observable student and school characteristics expected to influence both arts participation and school commitment. Agencies that support arts education should invest in experimental studies to produce causal evidence about the impact of arts on the student outcomes stakeholders care about.
Dropping out of high school remains a significant public education problem in the United States because the associated costs of doing so are extremely high and borne predominately by low-income and minority students, not to mention society at large. Promising interventions often center on student engagement. Using administrative data from Texas public high schools, we explore whether student enrollment in courses in visual arts, music, theatre, and dance are linked to reduced dropout behavior. Quality programs in the arts provide youth with student-centered, collaborative, active learning experiences that are inherently creative. If arts courses can engage at-risk students in ways that improve their socio-emotional development and connection to school, then making the right investments in public school arts programming could be a useful tool in reducing high school dropout.
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