The Muses Go to School

Inspiring Stories About the Importance of Arts in Education

Celebrated artists and educators make the compelling case that the arts belong at the heart of the American education system—an eloquent answer to those who think high standards don’t include the arts

“Whether they become a scientist, or novelist, or President of the United States, young people become empathetic human beings through the arts. That’s what the arts do.” —Rosie Perez

What do Whoopi Goldberg, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Rosie Perez, and Phylicia Rashad have in common? A transformative encounter with the arts during their school years. Whether attending a play for the first time, playing in the school orchestra, painting a mural under the direction of an art teacher, or writing a poem, these famous performers each credit an experience with the arts at school with helping them discover their inner humanity and putting them on the road to fully realized creative lives.

In The Muses Go to School, autobiographical pieces with well-known artists and performers are paired with interpretive essays by distinguished educators to produce a powerful case for positioning the arts at the center of primary and secondary school curriculums. Spanning a range of genres from acting and music to literary and visual arts, these smart and entertaining voices make surprising connections between the arts and the development of intellect, imagination, spirit, emotional intelligence, self-esteem, and self-discipline of young people.

With support from a star-studded cast, editors Herbert Kohl and Tom Oppenheim present a memorable critique of the growing national trend to eliminate the arts in public education. Going well beyond the traditional rationales, The Muses Go to School shows that creative arts, as a means of academic and personal development, are a critical element of any education. It is essential reading for teachers, parents, and anyone who really cares about education.



“Engaging. . . . Offers powerful narratives.”
The Washington Independent Review of Books
“It is a resistance to reductionist thinking that characterizes the reflections in The Muses Go to School.”
School Administrator
“Make[s] compelling arguments for keeping arts education in the schools.”
The Library Journal

Goodreads Reviews