Right Brain Matters

Great column in AnnArbor.com by Tamara Real, the Executive Director of the Arts Alliance in Ann Arbor. Its about the value of arts education. Which as we all know is often first on the chopping block for k-12 schools.

More broadly she cites the Right Brain Initiative which makes the case that to be successful we will need both left and right brain skills. This is the case Daniel Pink made so compelling in his terrific book, the Whole New Mind. It’s one of the trends we talk about when we do presentations for educators. That it is likely that job growth in advanced economies – like the US – will be increasingly right brain. Left brain skills are the easiest to automate and outsource.

My biggest disappointment with the valuable new high schools graduation requirements is that they are so left brain dominant. Requiring one arts course and eight in math and science does not reflect the likely skills needed by the economy going forward. Add to that the evidence that for many students the arts are both a way to engage them in learning and an effective way to build the skills we are requiring, we need to find a way to reverse the trend away from including the arts in the core k-12 curriculum.

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Lou Glazer

Lou Glazer is President and co-founder of Michigan Future, Inc., a non-partisan, non-profit organization. Michigan Future’s mission is to be a source of new ideas on how Michigan can succeed as a world class community in a knowledge-driven economy. Its work is funded by Michigan foundations.