Feds release three new reports
Three new federal reports shed new light on the state of arts education in America.
The President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities report. President Obama made arts education an integral part of his campaign platform. This report offers five recommendations to “clarify the position of the arts in a comprehensive, well-rounded K-12 education that is appropriate for all students; unify and focus efforts to expand arts education offerings to underserved students and communities; and, strengthen the evidence base for high-quality arts education.”
PCAH recommends the following:
1. Build collaborations among different approaches that “move beyond internal debates in the arts education field about modes of delivery of arts instruction in order to address more pressing issues of equitable access and infusing more schools with a creativity-rich environment.”
2. Develop the field of arts integration through “strengthening teacher preparation and professional development, targeting available arts funding, and setting up mechanisms for sharing ideas about arts integration through communities of practice.”
3. Expand in-school opportunities for teaching artists “in partnership with arts specialists and classroom teachers, through sustained engagements in schools.”
4. Utilize federal and state policies to reinforce the place of arts in K-12 education by “providing policy guidance for employing the arts to increase the rigor of curriculum, strengthen teacher quality, and improve low-performing schools.”
5. Widen the focus of evidence gathering about arts education and therefore acknowledge that “there is room to expand the systematic data gathering about the arts, specifically in developing creativity and enhancing engagement in school.”
The nearly eighty-page report is available at http://www.pcah.gov/sites/default/files/photos/PCAH_Reinvesting_4web.pdf
The U.S. Department of Education’s Fast Response Survey System (FRSS) First Look Report presents selected findings from a congressionally mandated study on arts education in public K-12 schools. The data, gathered by the USDOE’s National Center for Educational Statistics, was collected through FRSS surveys during the 2009-10 school year. There is data offered for all four arts forms—theatre included—from principle surveys about arts education for public elementary and secondary schools; there is also teacher survey data from elementary and secondary music and visual arts specialists. A later, full report—scheduled for released in winter, 2012—will present findings on a broader set of indicators on the status of arts education in 2009-10 and comparisons with data from the 1999-2000 study.
The FRSS First Look Report is available at http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2011078
3. Arts Education in America: What the declines mean for arts participation, a National Endowment for the Arts report that ties declining attendance at art events to the K-12 arts education experience, based on the NEA’s data from its 2008 Survey of Public Participation in the Arts. The SPPA data found that arts participation was declining for all art forms. The NEA commissioned the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago to conduct further analysis of the collected survey data.
The NEA Arts Education in America report is available at http://www.nea.gov/research/2008-SPPA-ArtsLearning.pdf.
The 2008 Survey of Public Participation in the Arts is available at http://www.nea.gov/research/2008-SPPA.pdf.