Over the last several years the focus of US education has been fixed firmly on the sciences. But research shows that the arts help children do better in all subjects and improve the likelihood that they will stay in school longer.
The Obama administration is putting this theory to the test by investing $2m (£1.3m) for arts education in eight of the most poorly performing schools across the country.
At Orchard Gardens Pilot School in Boston, the results have been dramatic. In just three years the students at the once-troubled school have improved their basic academic skills and many say the arts have changed their lives.