The Educational Theatre Association has endorsed “Arts Education is Essential,” a one-page statement that asserts the ongoing value of arts education for all students during the COVID-19 pandemic. EdTA is one of 52 national organizations that signed the document, which notes the pivotal uplifting role the arts have already played during the health crisis, and the value that arts education experiences can have for traditionally underrepresented students as they return to school in coming school year.
According to EdTA Director of Educational Policy James Palmarini, “Arts Education Is Essential” puts the safety and wellbeing of students at the center school of reopening strategies now being planned by states and districts throughout the country.
“The document is clear about how the arts can serve as a central component of every district’s reopening blueprint, with an emphasis on support for the social and emotional well-being of students,” he said. “Whether students return to school in-person, online, or in a hybrid model, we all know that theatre, for example, is particularly adept at creating a safe and inclusive space for students. The connectedness that the arts can provide during this era of social distancing is going to be very important.”
“Arts Education in Essential” also reminds policymakers and the public that arts education is a part of a well-rounded education as defined by the federal education law, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), and supported in state laws throughout the country.
Palmarini added that a process allowing regional organizations to endorse the statement will launch in the near future, and that the document will become part of a body of tools and resources that EdTA will be providing in the coming weeks and months to support members efforts to maintain their programs during the COVID-19 era.