How do the arts stand in K-12 across states?

Dive Brief:

  • The Arts Education Partnership's new report, "State of the States: 2016 Arts Education State Policy Summary," details where K-12 arts programs stand across states, noting that Iowa is the only state that doesn't have standards in place for assessing student performance.
  • Some 27 states identify the arts as a core subject, and ideal metrics for evaluating student performance include developing artistic ideas, refining them, and following projects to completion.
  • Research from 2011 also compiled by the Arts Education Partnership says that students who engage in arts learning perform better academically overall than peers who do not have arts education available.

Dive Insight:

Arts programs have been shown to increase student achievement. For example, Hartford Performs  an arts initiative comprised of visiting artists who lead lessons for 13,600 students from pre-K through eighth grade in Hartford, CT — has helped participants outscore peers in reading and writing. Yet paying for such programs can be a headache for cash-strapped school districts.

For Hartford, a solution came around because funding for the program is made possible by foundation grants, in addition to the school system contributing. Other cost-effective ways administrators can keep the arts in daily instruction are through public-private partnerships and havign local businesses donate art supplies. Grant and foundation money is also available. 

Arts education is likely to get a significant boost from the passage of the new Every Student Succeeds Act, since the new law contains language around states' obligations to provide arts education in public schools, calling it significant to a "well-rounded education" alongside math and reading. Just last week, U.S. Secretary of Education John King reiterated the same idea in a Las Vegas speech.

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Filed Under: K12 Policy & Regulation