Jodi Loveland
Phil 1250
Final Project
Expanding Access to Art, Whether
Through Programs in Schools or
Through Visits to Area Museums and
Galleries, Should be a Central Part of
Any Schools Curriculum
Argument Analysis-
Strong Causal Relationships do in
Fact Exist Between Arts Education
and a Range of Desirable
a Taste for
Students Who Were
Desirable Outcomes
Visiting an Art
Museum Exposes
Students to a
Diversity of Ideas
Levels of
Ideas that
Them with
on the Human
Students had
Free Access to
Museum Exhibit
Treatment Group
had Previously
Visited the Museum
Coupons were
Given to All
Students of the
Group is
Lottery Winners
Study Conducted to give
Free School Tours of the
Museum to 1/2 of the
Students and Teachers
Burden of Proof
Students in Treatment Group
More Likely to Attend the Exhibit
than Students in Control Group
Control Group
Not Lottery
Free School
Determined by
Coupons for the Exhibit
were Coded to Determine
Which Group Attended
Fallacy Response1. Expanding access to art should not be a part of any school’s curriculum. If you
expand art, then you decrease athletics, and athletics is necessary for school
2. Art should not be expanded in school. Art is not the focus of school, general
education is, and if school is not focused on art, then art should not be the focus
of school.
3. The expansion of art in school is a deception. People who support this are really
looking to eradicate sports and fitness related courses. These people are lazy
and want America to stay an obese country.
4. If we increase the access to art in our schools, then we are looking at disaster.
Artistic people are full of imagination and imagination is the land of dreamers.
Once we step into that space, we are stuck. We will no longer be able to
separate the dream from reality and will therefore start to do unusual things.
Other people will notice our change of behavior and call it insanity. We will end
up in a straightjacket, not even aware of what has happened to us. It would be
better not to take that first step.
5. If we expand the access to art in schools, then a lot of students will hate gym
It is definitely the case that a lot of students hate gym class.
So we have expanded the access to art in schools.
Summary of ArgumentExpanding access to art should be a central part of any school’s curriculum. Through a
study of school tours to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, we were able to
determine that there are strong causal relationships between arts education and
desirable outcomes. Students selected for the tours demonstrated strong critical
thinking skills, higher levels of social tolerance, greater historical empathy and a taste
for art and culture. The students who were a part of the tour (treatment group) were
more likely to return than those who were not picked for the tour (control group) and
therefore didn’t become exposed to art. 11,000 students and almost 500 teachers
participated in the study (1/2 were part of the treatment group). Most of the positive
results came from minority students, perhaps because they hadn’t been to an art
museum before. Further research is needed, but it is obvious that visiting an art
museum exposes students to a diversity of ideas that challenge them with different
perspectives on the human condition, with positive results.
ResponseI think that the setup of the study seems to be a sufficient way to conduct experiments.
Giving out coupons to the entire study group and recording how many of each group
actually used them is an efficient way to see what effect the tours had on the selected
I don’t agree with this argument because I feel that it doesn’t cover enough variation in
the study group. This study took place in one location, in a specific type of environment.
This was the first museum to be opened in that area, so it seems a bit biased. For
people who live in that area, an art museum might be more interesting to check out than
for an area where one has existed for a longer period of time. The best results came
from minority groups, people who don’t have any access to art, and while that might be
a good change for them, it doesn’t convince me that all schools will have the same
Counter ArgumentI don’t believe that there is enough evidence to support expanding access to art in the
school curriculum. It cannot be proven completely from the evidence presented that
students become more intelligent from being exposed to art. Simply because the
students that were observed showed signs of being at a deeper intellectual level, it does
not mean that they gained such inspiration because of art. The study is also biased,
focused in an area that is more likely to show positive responses. Further study is
definitely needed if they want that general conclusion.
ReflectionI don’t think that my counter argument is that strong. It is purely based on the original
argument and wouldn’t make any sense to someone who only reads mine. I think that
the premises would be strong, if they were better explained, or put into nicer words. If I
were to critique it, I would focus on the overall wording, emphasizing to make it clearer. I
think that it can be diagramed fairly easily; it just might not be strong. It was hard to
counter an argument that I honestly agree with.
Gray Matter
Art Makes You Smart
Published: November 23, 2013
FOR many education advocates, the arts are a panacea: They supposedly increase test scores, generate
social responsibility and turn around failing schools. Most of the supporting evidence, though, does little
more than establish correlations between exposure to the arts and certain outcomes. Research that
demonstrates a causal relationship has been virtually nonexistent.
A few years ago, however, we had a rare opportunity to explore such relationships when the Crystal
Bridges Museum of American Art opened in Bentonville, Ark. Through a large-scale, random-assignment
study of school tours to the museum, we were able to determine that strong causal relationships do in
fact exist between arts education and a range of desirable outcomes.
Students who, by lottery, were selected to visit the museum on a field trip demonstrated stronger
critical thinking skills, displayed higher levels of social tolerance, exhibited greater historical empathy
and developed a taste for art museums and cultural institutions.
Crystal Bridges, which opened in November 2011, was founded by Alice Walton, the daughter of Sam
Walton, the founder of Walmart. It is impressive, with 50,000 square feet of gallery space and an
endowment of more than $800 million.
Thanks to a generous private gift, the museum has a program that allows school groups to visit at no
cost to students or schools.
Before the opening, we were contacted by the museum’s education department. They recognized that
the opening of a major museum in an area that had never had one before was an unusual event that
ought to be studied. But they also had a problem. Because the school tours were being offered free, in
an area where most children had very little prior exposure to cultural institutions, demand for visits far
exceeded available slots. In the first year alone, the museum received applications from 525 school
groups requesting tours for more than 38,000 students.
As social scientists, we knew exactly how to solve this problem. We partnered with the museum and
conducted a lottery to fill the available slots. By randomly assigning school tours, we were able to
allocate spots fairly. Doing so also created a natural experiment to study the effects of museum visits on
students, the results of which we published in the journals Education Next and Educational Researcher.
Over the course of the following year, nearly 11,000 students and almost 500 teachers participated in
our study, roughly half of whom had been selected by lottery to visit the museum. Applicant groups who
won the lottery constituted our treatment group, while those who did not win an immediate tour served
as our control group.
Several weeks after the students in the treatment group visited the museum, we administered surveys
to all of the students. The surveys included multiple items that assessed knowledge about art, as well as
measures of tolerance, historical empathy and sustained interest in visiting art museums and other
cultural institutions. We also asked them to write an essay in response to a work of art that was
unfamiliar to them.
These essays were then coded using a critical-thinking-skills assessment program developed by
researchers working with the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston.
Further, we directly measured whether students are more likely to return to Crystal Bridges as a result
of going on a school tour. Students who participated in the study were given a coupon that gave them
and their families free entry to a special exhibit at the museum. The coupons were coded so that we
could determine the group to which students belonged. Students in the treatment group were 18
percent more likely to attend the exhibit than students in the control group.
Moreover, most of the benefits we observed are significantly larger for minority students, low-income
students and students from rural schools — typically two to three times larger than for white, middleclass, suburban students — owing perhaps to the fact that the tour was the first time they had visited an
art museum.
Further research is needed to determine what exactly about the museum-going experience determines
the strength of the outcomes. How important is the structure of the tour? The size of the group? The
type of art presented?
Clearly, however, we can conclude that visiting an art museum exposes students to a diversity of ideas
that challenge them with different perspectives on the human condition. Expanding access to art,
whether through programs in schools or through visits to area museums and galleries, should be a
central part of any school’s curriculum.
Fallacies Used1.
False Dilemma
Begging the Question
Straw Man
Slippery Slope
Affirming the Consequent
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