In May 2011, the U.S. President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities (PCAH) announced the release of its landmark report Reinvesting in Arts Education: Winning America’s Future Through Creative Schools. The report represented an in-depth review of the current condition of arts education, including an update of the current research base about arts education outcomes, and an analysis of the challenges and opportunities which emerged in the field during the previous decade.
Following recommendations in the report, PCAH launched Turnaround Arts as a pilot programme in April of 2012. Turnaround Arts is a public-private partnership that aims to test the hypothesis that strategically implementing high -quality and integrated arts education programming in high-poverty, chronically underperforming schools adds significant value to school-wide reform. In November 2013, the first Turnaround Arts progress report was published – the first in the two-year evaluation.
Created in America in 1982, the PCAH is an advisory committee to the White House on cultural issues. The PCAH works directly with the three primary cultural agencies – National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Institute of Museum and Library Services – as well as other federal partners and the private sector, to address policy questions in the arts and humanities, to initiate and support key programs in those disciplines and to recognise excellence in the field. Under the leadership of the First Lady and PCAH’s Honorary Chairman, and through the efforts of its federal and private members, the Committee has compiled an impressive legacy over its tenure, conducting major research and policy analysis, and catalysing important federal cultural programs, both domestic and international.
The presidential committee released a report showing Des Moines’ Findley Elementary School students have made gains in math and reading scores and attendance through their arts programme: