Ed. Note: Champions of Change is a weekly initiative to highlight Americans who are making an impact in their communities and helping our country rise to meet the many challenges of the 21st century.
I had the wonderful opportunity to go the White House and meet many of the Champions of Change, who are making great strides in incorporating strong arts curriculums into their schools. I was inspired by the principals I met with, and heard about how they were turning their low-performing schools around by incorporating the arts into the core subjects.
Study after study has displayed how a strong arts program keeps kids in school. This is especially important now when we have a 30 to 50 percent drop-out rate in certain areas. It was amazing to hear from these brave principals, who took action to incorporate those studies into practice, about the successes they are seeing. The children who were furthest behind are now making the fastest gains. Economically, it is a stitch in time—if we keep kids in school, they are less likely to find themselves in the prison system, or pregnant and a member of welfare. The Sphinx Organization program has placed many of its graduates in world class orchestras, which is a great testament to why it is important to keep music programs alive in schools.
I applaud the White House for focusing on these innovators and am grateful that I have had the chance to see these great Americans in action, pushing for success in our nation!
There is a long way to go, but this is the right path. Hopefully, many more will join in this walk toward a stronger America!
Patricia Arquette is an actor and an Advisory Board Member of The Creative Coalition.