Education Secretary Rod Paige

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Education Secretary Rod Paige

hide captionEducation Secretary Rod Paige.

NPR's Performance Today looks at the the state of music education in America's schools. NPR's Korva Coleman speaks with U.S. Education Secretary Rod Paige.

Paige points out that arts education is an integral part of the curriculum in the nation's classrooms. But many schools, strapped for cash, have diverted funds to the basics.

Musicologist Dr. Camille Smith from the University Florida, Gainsville recently surveyed schools nationwide and found that stringed intstruments are taking the biggest budgetary hit, with only 13.5% schools in the country offering string instruction.

In a nod to President Bush's No Child Left Behind program of standardized tests, Paige finishes up with a significant fact. "The research pretty clear," he tells Coleman. "Those students involved in arts education and music perform better on standardized tests."

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