National Study of Arts Education Finds Declines in Theater, Dance Instruction

From foundationcenter.org  on April 6. 

The National Center for Education Statistics, a federal entity located within the U.S. Department of Education, has released the findings of a national survey that comprehensively documents the state of arts education in U.S. public schools, the first such survey in a decade.

Based on data collected in 2009-10, the report, Arts Education in Public Elementary and Secondary Schools (126 pages, PDF), found that while there have not been significant declines in music and visual arts instruction in elementary and secondary schools nationwide over the last decade, the percentage of elementary schools making theater and dance instruction available has fallen dramatically, from 20 percent a decade ago to 4 percent and 3 percent, respectively, in the 2009-10 school year. The report also found that coursework in the arts was not required for graduation at more than 40 percent of the secondary schools surveyed.

The report also reconfirms the existence of an “equity gap” with respect to the availability of arts instruction as well as the richness of course offerings for students in high-poverty schools, resulting in students who are economically disadvantaged not receiving the same kinds of enrichment experiences as more students in more affluent schools.

“It’s a good news, bad news story,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. “A well-rounded education is simply too vital to our students’ success to let the teaching of the arts and humanities erode.”

“U.S. Department of Education Releases New Arts Education Report.” U.S. Department of Education Press Release 4/03/12.


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Arts to Grow (ATG) engages children in the artistic process by providing free, highly tailored and professionally taught arts education programs to youth in the New York metro area who have limited access to the arts. Arts to Grow collaborates closely with schools and community groups to match performing and visual arts programs and Teaching Artists with the specific needs of each group of children. ATG serves the community and society by helping children develop their full potential through the arts.

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