Not "craft time," or follow-along busy work, but a rigorous, focused, inter-curricular program taught by a certified ART instructor. The facts show that schools that implement STEAM programs, outperform schools that promote STEM. The "A" (Art) is THE important key to student success!
A study by PlosOne (https://goo.gl/6XZ5KZ ) shows that exploring art and making art both help the brain make more neural connections, but that making art showed significantly greater cognitive gains.
Evidence from The National Assembly of State Arts Agencies and the AEPsupport (https://goo.gl/op4zGo ) the fact that art students are more successful than their non-art involved peers by a significant margin.
72% of business leaders say that creativity is the number one skill they hire for. Art is one of the few places children develop these kinds of problem solving skills. Students who participate in art are 4X more likely to participate in a math or science fair. Art students are more likely to be recognized for student achievement. Art reduces truancy in schools and in poor districts student dropout rates go from an average 22% in schools without art to 4% within the SAME population in schools with art. Art students are 17% more likely to volunteer, and 20% more likely to vote. Art students outscore their peers on the SAT exam by an average of 100 points. https://goo.gl/wik68T and https://goo.gl/CBMB3R
Art does even more, like lowering stress so students can cope with the challenges of school. (https://goo.gl/pguZ2l ) A Missouri study (https://goo.gl/t796S2 ) of public schools in 2010 found that greater arts education led to fewer disciplinary infractions, higher attendance, graduation rates, and confirmed data that student test scores were higher. Conversely a New York City high schools study showed that schools that had a graduation rate under 50% offered the least access to art education with fewer certified arts teachers. (https://goo.gl/a9AOHY) ( bit.ly/ArtBenefits )
Additionally, medical schools are noticing a decline in students’ dexterity, likely from spending time swiping screens rather than developing fine motor skills that we know are a hallmark of hands-on classes like art. https://nyti.ms/2YTnaem
With such huge, verifiable benefits, it's amazing that only 7% of schools require art education. State arts agencies receive 0.037%—less than one half of one tenth of one percent—of state general fund expenditures. https://goo.gl/qjqKFo .
The solution to failing schools is right under our noses. (https://goo.gl/Ps1YWN) More statistical evidence can be found on the Arts Ed Now organization publication located here: (https://goo.gl/a9AOHY)