School Board Petition

School Board Petition: Bring back the Middle School Arts, Health, and PE Credit Requirement

To: Members of the Utah State Board of Education
From: Utah Cultural Alliance, Utah Education Association, Utah Music Teachers Association, and the following signers

We are parents, voters, and Utahns who care about the success of our state’s children. We know that a well-rounded education is vital to their future.

As your constituents, we ask you to reverse your August 4th decision to remove the Middle School credit requirement for health, arts, physical education, college and career awareness, world languages, and digital literacy.

The benefits to children of a well-rounded education that includes arts, health, and PE education are many:

  1. Better academic results, better workforce opportunities, and more civic engagement, especially for at-risk children. (1)
  2. Improved performance and grades in reading, math, writing, and other subjects. (2)
  3. Increased creative thinking and problem solving. (3)
  4. Increased positive attitudes towards school and learning. (4)
  5. Less aggression and violent tendencies. (5)
  6. Improved cognitive ability. (6)
  7. Improved community cohesion. (7)
  8. Improved graduation rates. (8)
  9. Improved motor skills and self-discipline. (9)
  10. Improved social interaction. (10)
  11. Improved mental health and dietary choices. (11)

Eliminating the credit requirement for arts, health, physical education, college and career awareness, world languages, and digital literacy suggests that state standards and oversight for these vital programs could disappear. These are subject areas that are proven to close the school achievement gap. Lack of standards and oversight prevents fair and equitable services statewide, and puts at risk our State’s commitment to ensure that a healthy and productive generation is ready to lead our future.

We thank the six board members who voted against this change: Janet Cannon, Brittney Cummins, Jennifer Graviet, Carol Barlow-Lear, Kathleen Riebe, and Spencer Stokes.

Utah is a wonderful place to live, work, and raise families. We believe that our state public education system should be a light to the rest of America and the world. When policy changes occur that negatively affect children’s education -- such as this credit change -- our state educational system suffers, and our children suffer. We ask you to reverse your August 4th decision.


The board and staff of the Utah Cultural Alliance, Utah Education Association, Utah Music Teachers Association, and the undersigned.



  2. A 2002 report by the Arts Education Partnership revealed that schoolchildren exposed to drama, music and dance are often more proficient at reading, writing, and math. & The 2006 Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum study on art education showed a link between arts education and improved literacy skills. & A 2011 study called “Reinvesting in Arts Education” found that integrating arts with other subjects can help raise achievement levels. & Active Education: Physical Education, Physical Activity and Academic Performance. & An Evaluation of the Relationship between Academic Performance and Physical Fitness Measures in California Schools

  3. A study ( of more than 2,000 middle-school students by researchers at Columbia University found that students who had participated in at least three years of in-school arts instruction scored significantly higher on an instrument measuring creative thinking and that these students self- reported much higher rates of positive attitudes towards school and learning than did their peers who had experienced less arts education.

  4. Same study as 1.
  5. Evaluation of a six-month program that involved youth in drama reported that these participants demonstrated less aggressive and violent tendencies, while also exhibiting more pro-social behaviors like cooperation and self control compared to before participating. & A study of Missouri public schools in 2010 found that greater arts education led to fewer disciplinary infractions and higher attendance, graduation rates and test scores.

  6. A study by research kinesiologists found that students showed improved cognitive ability after participating in moderate exercise. & A meta-analysis that took into account 44 studies that had sought to identify correlations & between physical activity among children and their cognitive performance concluded that there is a significant relationship. & The Association Between School-Based Physical Activity, Including Physical Education, and Academic Performance

  7. A 2005 report by the Rand Corporation called “A Portrait of the Visual Arts” argues that art education does more than just give students a creative outlet. It can actually help connect them to the larger world, ultimately improving community cohesion.

  8. The Center for Arts Education published a report in 2009 that suggests arts education may improve graduation rates.

  9. & Physical Education in Kindergarten Promotes Fundamental Motor Skill Development


  11. Do the Duration and Frequency of Physical Education Predict Academic Achievement, Self-concept, Social skills, Food consumption, and Body Mass Index?



5,000 signatures

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Showing 3721 reactions

  • Robert Creager
    signed 2020-03-08 18:33:01 -0600
  • Kevan Eyre
    signed via 2018-10-22 23:12:20 -0600
    Arts are the backbone of a quality education.
  • Jaqueline Trandler
    signed 2018-06-08 17:49:20 -0600
  • Mark Altenburg
    signed via 2018-05-15 12:14:08 -0600
  • Cheryl Nunn
    signed via 2018-05-14 12:20:54 -0600
  • Heather Hofhiens
    signed 2018-03-26 15:26:05 -0600
  • Jill Meyer
    signed 2018-01-13 11:58:03 -0700
  • Letitia Teneau-Sword
    signed 2018-01-12 15:29:35 -0700
  • Alan LaFleur
    signed 2018-01-11 07:37:12 -0700
    Alan LaFleur, I think it is criminal to auction off artworks for sports. The arts already suffer from administrations because of athletic needs. I am not against athletics, but so much is already invested in their programs, while the arts have to keep scrabbling to keep their programs going-often having to fight with administrators for things that sports programs receive without question. I am ashamed that any district in our state would even consider something like this!
  • Michael Kenney
    signed 2018-01-10 19:17:28 -0700
  • Nick Nielsen
    signed 2018-01-10 11:05:29 -0700
    My fondest wish for this wonderful art work is that it REMAIN IN CACHE COUNTY, in the hands of someone who will care for it and make it available for the public to view. The art work currently is in the hands of Frank Schofield who sees nothing but dollar signs when it comes to the art collection. He and his co-conspirators should turn the art work over to USU or other responsible institution, at no charge, where the artwork will receive proper care and be displayed for the public to enjoy. (Sorry, Schofield, there goes your big pay raise!) Nick Nielsen
  • Trevor Teuscher
    signed 2018-01-10 10:18:06 -0700
  • Peter LaBarge
    signed 2018-01-10 08:21:29 -0700
  • Sarah Biggs
    signed 2018-01-10 08:14:15 -0700
  • Nicole Martin
    signed 2018-01-09 14:12:02 -0700
  • Penny Thigpen
    signed 2018-01-09 10:32:17 -0700
    Penny Thigpen

    The sell of art to enhance the arts would make more sense, but to take a precious piece of art and fund athletics seems a misuse of resources, a lack of support in incorporating value and interest in the arts. We need to educate our youth in the value of arts in our community culture. Sports are wonderful! Art is wonderful!
  • Utah Film Center Utah Film Center
    signed 2018-01-09 08:25:26 -0700
    Please prioritize our children by giving them access and exposure to what feeds and nourishes our humanity.
  • Rebecca Gee
    signed 2018-01-09 00:25:51 -0700
  • Misty Morris
    signed via 2018-01-08 22:13:05 -0700
  • Sandra Zakowski
    signed 2018-01-08 21:05:13 -0700
    Please support the arts! As a public school teacher, I know the intrinsic value the arts bring to all subjects across the curriculum. Don’t diminish one of our greatest resources for children!
  • Lynette Bradford Reeder
    signed 2018-01-08 18:55:11 -0700
  • Jessica Tsu
    signed 2018-01-08 18:22:21 -0700
    Bring back the arts!!!!
  • Cindy McCandless
    signed 2018-01-08 17:38:56 -0700
  • Frances Caplan
    signed 2018-01-08 17:34:44 -0700
  • Suzi Montgomery
    signed 2018-01-08 17:01:50 -0700
  • Yamile Mendez
    signed 2017-12-12 09:58:11 -0700
    As a mother, as a writer, I can’t emphasize enough the impact of the arts in the lives of our society. For some children, school is the first place where they’re introduced to them. Why take away this opportunity? Why deprive of our children of the one thing that makes America really great?
  • Barney Wagner
    signed 2017-11-20 21:11:00 -0700
    Music and art helps children become more well rounded and creative students. With the obesity problem, in the U.S., children need daily exercise which keeps them fit and introduces them active participation in sports. Health class teaches students about there bodies and how to keep them healthy.
  • Elizabeth Weight
    signed 2017-11-14 07:00:53 -0700
    Elizabeth Weight: When I was growing up in Utah, music and art education in schools was an element of state pride. Utahns educated the “whole child,” and, as a result, Utah is noted for its talent and its attendance rates at art events of all types. When people learn about and have guided practice in any art form, they understand, appreciate, and value that art, regardless of their individual talent or pursuits. Lives are enriched and economies are stronger with community events around performance and visual arts, even in our smallest communities. Art is part of our Utah culture, specifically and intentionally established throughout our history.

    However, the arguments around “return on investment” and the immeasurable character qualities that are part of our state identity are not the only reason for supporting music and arts to the degree we have traditionally. Studies have shown and continue to portray the degree and manner in which our students learn more and better when art education is part of their school experience. Human brains function differently and develop natural learning abilities that influence learning in other content areas. It turns out that requirements to learn about and practice any art form creates a more able society in all other areas of learning, as well as building community.

    Removing requirements in the areas prescribed in the August 4 decision may seem beneficial for some students’ focus in areas of their choice, but it will result in damage to learning, community, and even economic development. I urge the reversal of the decision.
  • Teresa Dickson
    signed via 2017-11-08 22:26:15 -0700
    Children NEED the arts. They understand academic better when they have arts training. It is essential to their understanding of relationships between subjects and their details. Arts help their spacial reasoning which impacts their mathematical reasoning abilities. The arts teach children to problem solve and make the most of a mistake. PE helps children’s brains function better. The health and other subjects are important too. Children need a well rounded education.
  • Hunter Anderson
    signed 2017-11-05 18:48:02 -0700