Teachers College Press









Why Our High Schools Need the Arts


Jessica Hoffmann Davis
Pub Date: December 2011, 128 pages

Paperback: $25.95, ISBN: 080775286X
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“With a voice that is at once discerning and empathic, challenging and generous, passionate and measured, Jessica Hoffmann Davis explains the role that the arts can play in transforming our high schools into oases of engagement, expressivity, and inclusiveness for all students. Why Our High Schools Need The Artshonorsthe relationships, imagination, and courage that are at the core of good schools. Itis informative and inspiring, open hearted and open-minded, provocative and promising.”
Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot, The Emily Hargroves Fisher Professor of Education, Harvard University

“As the nation looks for innovative strategies to appeal to the most disenfranchised of our students, Jessica Davis’ work clearly outlines an arts education strategy of enormous power and appeal that I believe could be game changing.”
Bill Strickland, President and CEO of Manchester Bidwell Corporation and author of Make the Impossible Possible

“A must read for anyone who cares about dropout prevention, Dr. Hoffmann Davis’ latest book is laid out like a map of the developing teenage psyche, leading the reader to a clear understanding of why learning in the arts is critical to adolescent development and engagement in school.”
—Dr. Kristen Paglia, Director of Programming, P.S. ARTS

In this follow-up to her bestselling book, Why Our Schools Need the Arts, Jessica Hoffmann Davis addresses the alarming drop-out rate in our high schools and presents a thoughtful, evidence-based argument that increasing arts education in the high school curriculum will keep kids in school. Davis shares compelling voices of teachers and their adolescent learners to demonstrate how courses in the arts are relevant and valuable to students who have otherwise become disenfranchised from school. This important book points the way toward rescuing the American high school from inside out by insuring that all students benefit from the compelling and essential learning opportunities that the arts uniquely provide.

In an engaging and accessible narrative, Why Our High Schools Need the Arts will inform the uninitiated, change the minds of doubters, and fuel the fight of those already committed to arts-related school reform. This timely resource:

  • Takes key foundational principles presented in Why Our Schools Need the Arts and describes how they work in high schools.
  • Presents research that indicates arts learning engages youth and provides them with a reason to stay in school and graduate.
  • Provides real-life examples, with teacher and student voices, that school reformers need to hear.

Jessica Hoffmann Davis is a cognitive developmental psychologist and founder of the Arts in Education Program at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She is the author of Why Our Schools Need the Arts, Framing Education as Art, and Ordinary Gifted Children. Visit the author’s website at www.jessicahoffmanndavis.com.


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