Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, NY
I want to congratulate the work of the National Dance Education Organization and share with you my thoughts on the importance of dance education.  You know, the National Dance Education Organization has a real vision of the power of dance in our children’s education and I could not agree more.
Today in the United States, businesses are continually asking for more creative thinkers for our 21st century economy.  By creative thinkers, I mean workers who have an ability to speak clearly, listen closely, workers who engage in the learning process, who solve problems, as well as those who value individual responsibility and integrity.  More often than not, these types of workers were exposed to the arts when they were students.
Take a look at a recent study which found that students who study the arts are more likely to outperform their peers academically.  For example, in a recent study on SAT scores, students who studied dance scored an average of 36 points higher on the verbal and 15 points higher on math.  Unfortunately, President Bush’s No Child Left Behind legislation makes it so much harder for schools to offer dance and other arts education programs.  No Child Left Behind places a strain on schools and forces many to focus on just Math and English.  Those are the two subjects that require testing under the legislation but so often they are influenced by the other interests and the discipline that children obtain through the arts.
So the National Dance Education Organization is the collective voice for dance education and you’re working hard to help states increase the availability and quality of dance instruction.  I applaud the work that you do, with your help our children can become not only the brightest and most creative that they possibly can be, but the kind of future leaders that our nation needs.

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