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15 national organizations call for restoring quality arts education programs in America’s schools

January 14, 2014

The Educational Theatre Association, in partnership with fifteen 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 arts education in a balanced curriculum for all students, asserts the place of arts education 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 twelve-month period, responds to the marginalization of quality arts education in America’s schools in recent years, as funding, staffing, and school time has increasingly focused on tested subject areas.

Acknowledging the long history of support for arts education by public and private partners, A Shared Endeavor defines what quality arts education looks like at the local level, encourages partnerships, and calls on organizations and individuals to actively support and promote:
  • policies and resources for arts education;
  • collaboration among school-based arts educators, other subject area teachers, community-based artists, and arts educators;
  • access to arts education for all students,
  • and long-term advocacy partnerships among all providers of arts education.
A Shared Endeavor reflects the value EdTA and our partner organizations place on the work of our members and others who contribute to high quality arts education. In its eighty-five-year history, EdTA has consistently advocated for and contributed to collaborative initiatives that seek to expand access for all students to arts education and to validate arts educators in and out of school-based environments.

EdTA Executive Director Julie Woffington urged members and others to read this document and its companion diagram that puts students at the center of arts education. “I would encourage everyone to use Arts Education for America’s Students, A Shared Endeavor as an action tool to help prompt dialogue with your community leaders,” she said. “The statement emphasizes that we share the responsibility to deliver quality arts education among certified arts teachers, community arts providers, and peer educators in non-arts subjects. We hope our members will drive that collaboration.”

In the coming months, EdTA will launch an online dialogue around A Shared Endeavor. The conversation will be built on the following questions:
  • How do your students have access to arts education in your community’s schools?
  • How do your community-based arts educators, such as an art museum or a school of music, connect with your community’s schools?
  • How do your teachers connect the learning in their classrooms to learning in the arts? How can you support them in that endeavor?