21st Century Skills Map: The Arts
The Partnership for 21st Century Skills (P21), has collaborated with several national associations to create a 21st Century Skills Map for the Arts, which demonstrates how an arts curriculum can promote 21st century knowledge and acquisition of critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity skills.   These skills, also referred to as the four Cs, were identified in a recent survey by the American Management Association as essential workforce preparation for future growth of the U.S. economy. The arts skills map is P21’s fifth core content map and it is hoped that the examples can serve as an inspirational model for educators. A companion resource, Supporting Structures For Arts Education in the 21st Century, provides further information about 21st century standards, arts education assessment, curriculum and instruction, professional development, and learning environments for arts education.

Arts Education: Creating Student Success in School, Work, and Life
A group of the largest national education associations have joined ranks with the arts community to ask for better arts education opportunities in our nation’s schools. The messages outlined in Arts Education: Creating Student Success in School, Work, and Life will directly communicate the benefits of arts education to policymakers as they are expected to re-write the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) this year. As this unified statement-in-progress demonstrates, there is strength in numbers and value in partnering with common stakeholders. Consider mining this statement for talking points your orchestra can use immediately in local advocacy that supports music education in your schools. Also, review the list of national signatories and consider their local members as potential partners in your education advocacy efforts. Arts education advocates are currently advancing specific legislative recommendations as Congress re-writes the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

Arts Education for America’s Students: A Shared Endeavor
The League, in partnership with 12 national arts and education organizations, has released Arts Education for America’s Students, A Shared Endeavor, a statement outlining the importance of high quality arts education and those responsible for providing it to students. A Shared Endeavor articulates the purpose and value of art education in the balanced curriculum of all students, asserts its place as a core academic subject area, and details how sequential arts learning can be supported by rigorous national standards and assessments. The statement, created over a 12-month period by the endorsing organizations, calls on organizations and individuals to actively support and promote:   

  • Policies and resources for arts education.
  • Access to arts education for all students.
  • Collaboration between school-based arts educators, other subject area teachers, community-based artists, and arts educators.
  • Long-term advocacy partnership between all providers of arts education.  

We encourage you to read this document and its companion diagram that places students at the center of arts education and consider it a tool to help prompt dialogue and engagement with community arts education leaders in a conversation about how students in your community access arts education, beginning with these questions:

  • Do students have access to arts education in your community’s schools?
  • How do community-based arts educators, including your orchestra, connect with learning taking place in your community’s schools?
  • How do teachers connect the learning in their classrooms to learning in the arts? How can you support them in that endeavor?
  • Where do you have strong supports for arts education at your school? What does your state require your schools to do?

Arts Education Partnership
The Arts Education Partnership (AEP) is a rich source of research about the importance of arts education. The League is a member of the AEP steering committee. The total Partnership includes more than 140 national arts, education, business, philanthropic, and government organizations.

National Association for Music Education
MENC is among the world's largest arts education organizations, and addresses all aspects of music education. Through membership of more than 75,000 active, retired, and preservice music teachers. MENC provides resources to educators, students and education advocates.

Supportmusic.com
The League is an active member of this national coalition, dedicated to increasing music education opportunities for all learners. Supported by MENC: The National Association for Music Education and NAMM, the International Music Products Association, supportmusic.com invites you to plug in the challenges to music education in your community, and generates the arguments you can use to address them. Newly available is the SupportMusic Community Action Kit, which provides tools for music education advocacy.

Whole Child Partnership
The League is a partner of the Whole Child campaign – a public campaign to redefine what it means to be well educated for the 21st century. This campaign calls on parents, educators, policymakers, and communities to join forces to ensure that children receive an education that emphasizes academic rigor as well as the essential 21st-century skills of critical thinking and creativity. Further information about the Whole Child campaign and an opportunity to sign a petition of support is available online.