The profound impact of arts education on children and youth follows them throughout their lives. Arts education rewards our children by helping them to reach practical goals such as academic achievement and career success. Arts education enriches our youth with social, cultural and emotional benefits. As shown in study after study, a widely held belief in the positive value of arts education is shared by parents, teachers, school administrators and arts education experts. This belief is the reason that arts education has historically been an important part of the education of our children in the United States. However, deeper analysis both nationwide and here in Illinois reveals a gap between what individuals, educators and elected officials profess as the value of arts education and what is allocated to arts education in terms of budget, faculty, class time, curriculum, planning and evaluation. Illinois Creates is a broad-based statewide coalition of 150 education, business, civic and arts advocates dedicated to promoting a comprehensive, standards-based arts education program for all Illinois public school students.