Status of Arts EducationIn This Section
The National Endowment for the Arts and Education Commission of the States has released the Arts Education Data Toolkit. This toolkit, which is part of the State Data Infrastructure Project for Arts Education, offers detailed guidance on how to manage an arts education data initiative from start to finish and can help users take advantage of new state data systems, which can in turn have an enormous effect on planning an arts education data initiative.
The 2016 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) in the Arts measured the ability of eighth-grade students to respond to works of art in music and to respond and create in the visual arts. Arts advocates hope future assessments in the arts will be more comprehensive in scope and depth and will be conducted more frequently. The League, together with national partners such as the Arts Education Partnership, helped to create an online resource to help answer frequently asked questions and discuss key findings about the 2016 assessment. The U.S. Department of Education was scheduled to administer the NAEP in the arts again in 2024 but it was recently announced that the arts assessment would be eliminated.
Following the May 2011 “First Look” preview, the long-awaited Federal Snapshot of Arts Education (Fast Response Survey System) was released in full on April 2, 2012. This survey, conducted by the National Center on Education Statistics (NCES), in partnership with the Office of Innovation and Improvement at the U.S. Department of Education, is the first collection of information in 10 years. Principals and teachers (including arts specialists as well as elementary classroom teachers) reported during the 2009-2010 school year on the conditions of K-12 arts education. The federal snapshot of “Arts Education in Public Elementary and Secondary Schools: 1999-2000 and 2009-10 “, which presents selected findings, is available online. The League, together with its national partners, has created a toolkit on Arts Access in U.S. Schools (2009-10 FRSS) to help orchestras understand and communicate about the Snapshot FRSS results – check it out today!
ArtScan, a project of the Arts Education Partnership, is a searchable clearinghouse of the latest state policies supporting education in and through the arts from all 50 states and the District of Columbia. You will find not only policy language excerpted directly from each state’s education policies but also information on state-level surveys of arts education and a set of descriptive education indicators (from the U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics’ Digest of Education Statistics: 2012)
This 2007 report from the Center on Education Policy (CEP) examines the amount of time spent on core academic subjects and how it changed since the enactment of NCLB. 30% of districts with at least one school identified as needing improvement—those with the students most responsive to the benefits of the arts—have decreased instruction time for art and music.
From Anecdote to Evidence: Assessing the Status and Condition of Arts Education at the State Level (PDF)
Without solid evidence about the status and condition of arts education in the nation’s public schools, it is difficult to make a convincing case for the arts. This research and policy brief draws on the experiences of five states—Illinois, Kentucky, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Washington—to discuss various approaches and methodologies for conducting statewide arts education research.
A recent report from the Center on Education Policy (CEP) has captured the attention of the press, public, and policymakers. From the Capital to the Classroom: Year 4 of the No Child Left Behind Act, identifies the opportunities and challenges of NCLB implementation. The survey reports that 71% of districts are making more time for math and reading by reducing other subjects. In 2005-06, nearly one-quarter of the districts surveyed report that instructional time in art and music had been reduced somewhat or to a great extent to make more time for math and reading.
A 2009 Government Accountability Office report finds that minority and low-income students are experiencing decreases in access to arts education, and that the status of state budgets significantly impacts the availability of arts education in schools. The full report (PDF) is available online in PDF form, as is a one-page highlights document. (PDF)
In Arts Education in America: What the Declines Mean for Arts Participation (published by the National Endowment for the Arts in February 2011), Nick Rabkin and Eric Hedberg analyzed the NEA’s Survey of Public Participation in the Arts and confirmed that participation in arts lessons and classes is the most significant predictor of arts participation later in life. Their report shows that long-term declines in reported rates of arts learning (with substantial declines noted in childhood music) took place from 1982 to 2008 – a period of time in which many public schools have devalued arts education.
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