Doug Israel, Director of Research and Policy for The Center for Arts Education, posts to Huffington Post Education:
Owing largely to mandates of the federal No Child Left Behind Act, school districts of all sizes spent years focusing educational goals very narrowly on improving test scores in just two subject areas English Language Arts and Math. This came at the expense of the arts, music, and other subject areas that were not being tested.
From Robin Pogrebin at The New York Times:
The Department of Cultural Affairs announced its planned survey at a meeting in January at the Ford Foundation that was attended by about 230 representatives of arts groups. An additional 200 attended a second meeting last month at BRIC, a nonprofit arts and media organization in Brooklyn. Arts executives who went to the meetings said they welcomed the city’s effort and did not view it with alarm.
In a speech delivered at a symposium held by UK-based Circus Futures, Owen Calvert-Lyons, artistic director of The Point, Eastleigh, and The Berry Theatre, implores the arts eco-system to make emotional in additional to financial investments in its artists. He asks:
Artists are constantly being asked to be financially resilient. But what about emotional resilience? When artists face rejection from a funder or a programmer, who is there to provide that sense of community and solidarity and empathy? So often the work that artists subsidise with time, money, love and belief is treated as a commodity, or just a product by venues. In an era in which our sector is constantly being asked to commercialise, this will only increase.
From Mary Plummer at KPCC, 89.3FM:
New Jersey continues to lead the nation through the release of detailed arts education information to the public and the research findings look promising — a 4% increase in high school arts participation from the previous year with significant increases in dance and theater participation. These findings are based on the arts educator assignment data for all schools and the high school arts participation data from the New Jersey School Performance Reports just released by the New Jersey State Department of Education. According to the new state data, 94% of schools in New Jersey reported offering arts education programs that provide access to nearly 1.3 million students (97% of all students). Student participation in high school arts programs grew to just under 50% of all students.