Arts Education

Research positively correlates arts education to school success factors such as higher graduation rates and stronger achievement scores. Arts education is also correlated to social and emotional development, civic engagement, and future arts participation. Yet low income students and students of color continue to lack access to everyday instruction in the arts while in school. This systemic denial of the arts and instruction through the arts translates into children who are ill-prepared for advanced study in high school and are behind in the skills they need to be successful in the workforce and college.
Posted on May 18, 2015 by Steve

Grantmakers in the Arts and Foundation Center are pleased to announce the release of a new report that provides an update to the state of arts education funding by private foundations. Foundation Funding for Arts Education: An Update on Foundation Trends puts together data from 1999 to 2012. The report was authored by Steven Lawrence and Reina Mukai of Foundation Center.

Download the full report.

Posted on April 23, 2015 by Steve

After several attempts over the past few years, Congress is making progress in updating the No Child Left Behind Act, also known as the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). The Arts Education Funders Coalition has been advancing its systemic policy agenda for ESEA as part of the Senate and House process to move ESEA legislation. Just this past week, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (Senate HELP) Committee approved their version of an ESEA rewrite on a unanimous 22 to 0 vote. The AEFC arts education agenda was well represented as part of this legislation.

Aspects related to our agenda that were included in the bill are:

  • The bill maintains a definition of core academic subjects that includes the arts. While not leveraged effectively in current law, “core academic subjects” appear in several key locations in the bill (see below).
  • The bill makes clear that Title I funds can be used for arts education. Specifically, Title I says that funds can be used for “programs, activities and courses in the core academic subjects”. As mentioned above, the term “core academic subjects” includes the arts.
  • The definition of core academic subjects appears in...
Posted on April 14, 2015 by Steve

In January, the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities (PCAH) released the results of an independent study that shows substantial gains in student achievement at schools participating in its Turnaround Arts initiative. The eight schools in the pilot phase of the initiative—showing increases in reading and math scores, as well as an increase in attendance and a decrease in suspensions—demonstrate that the program’s use of the arts is having a measurable impact on low-performing schools by increasing student engagement and narrowing the achievement gap.

Get the full report.

Posted on April 2, 2015 by Steve

Melissa M. Menzer from the NEA Office of Research & Analysis posts to Art Works Blog:

As a research psychologist trained in studying childhood development, I often pose two questions in my role at the National Endowment for the Arts. One, what is the quality of the evidence suggesting that artistic and creative activities affect child outcomes, and two, what can researchers, educators, practitioners, and policy-makers do to implement successful arts-based programs that provide opportunities for children to flourish and to thrive? As part of this quest, I went to Philadelphia last month to participate in the biennial research conference for the Society for Research in Child Development.

Read the full post.

Posted on March 6, 2015 by Steve

Doug Israel, Director of Research and Policy for The Center for Arts Education, posts to Huffington Post Education:

After years of budget cuts, and a narrowing of curriculum at public schools across the country, urban school districts, such as New York and Chicago, are taking bold steps to expand the school day curriculum and once again invest in arts 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.

Read the full post.

Posted on February 26, 2015 by Steve

From Mary Plummer at KPCC, 89.3FM:

Los Angeles Unified School District officials have cleared the way for principals to tap into a major source of funding for arts programs targeting low-income students starting fall 2015. Although state and federal officials previously said national Title I dollars, allocated to help disadvantaged students improve in academics, could be used for the arts instruction, some district officials had been reluctant to move ahead. The latest decision reverses the district's long-standing practice and opens the door for Title I-funded arts instruction that helps students improve their academic performance.

Read the full article.

Posted on February 20, 2015 by Steve

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.

Read the full announcement.

Posted on January 29, 2015 by Steve

From Elaine Weiss, from Moyers & Company:

Last week, President Obama took the stage before a joint session of Congress to assure us that, after years of struggle, the state of our union is solid, and we are still the greatest country on earth. But a growing number of signs — including some to which the president alluded — suggest otherwise. The most recent, and among the most disturbing, is a bulletin from the Southern Education Foundation. The report finds that, for the first time in at least half a century — since Lyndon Johnson declared a War on Poverty — more than half of all US public school students live in low-income households.

Read the full article.

Posted on January 22, 2015 by Steve

On January 21, 2015 the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee held the first of a series of hearings regarding the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), focusing on the subjects of testing and accountability. You can view the webcast of the hearing.

Key Issues Discussed:

  • Witnesses and senators discussed how much flexibility states should have in creating assessment systems without sacrificing accountability. They varied in their support for larger or smaller state and local roles in accountability systems, in their support for annual grade-level or grade-span assessments, and in the extent to which standardized tests promote or inhibit learning opportunities.
  • Witnesses and senators discussed creating accountability systems that hold schools accountable for narrowing achievement gaps for all students, especially low-income students, students of color, students with disabilities, and English language learners (ELLs). A few Senators focused on questions of the cap for the number of students with disabilities who are classified as severely disabled...
Posted on December 2, 2014 by SuJ'n

Andrea Shea from Boston's The ARTery reports:

At the same time that school music programs across the country are being downsized due to budget cuts, there’s one intensive music-education program that’s growing. And now Massachusetts has become the first state in the country to set aside funding for the Venezuelan-born effort known as El Sistema.

Read the full article here.

Posted on October 27, 2014 by Steve

Anthony Mazzocchi is former Director of Fine and Performing Arts for the South Orange/Maplewood School District, where he launched one of the first K-4 Suzuki Violin programs in New Jersey. During his stay, the district was designated “One of the Best Communities for Music Education” by the NAMM Association, and he was nominated for the first ever GRAMMY Music Educator Award by the GRAMMY Foundation. He posts here to The Village Green of Maplewood and South Orange:

We are going down the path of so many other failed systems; teaching the creativity out of kids, and cutting the arts as an “easy fix” to making way for “new and improved” initiatives that often serve only as resume builders for transient administrators. These are the same cuts that many districts have made over the years, but not the great districts. Our district is supposed to be better than this, but perhaps I am wrong. Ultimately, we cannot continue to give lip service to meeting the challenges of the 21st century while embracing educational ideologies of the past. Our district needs to truly value different modes of intelligence and cultivate creative relationships between disciplines. Imagination, creativity, and innovation are...
Posted on October 8, 2014 by Steve

The U.S. Department of Education has awarded $13.4 million to 34 organizations to help arts educators grow and improve arts instruction, and share effective models of arts in education that support student achievement in the arts and other areas.

These grantees are supported by two distinct programs, Arts in Education Model Development and Dissemination (AEMDD), and Professional Development for Arts Educators (PDAE). AEMDD grants support school districts and non-profit organizations with arts expertise to create materials that can be integrated into arts disciplines across elementary and middle schools. The Professional Development for Arts Educators program supports professional development for arts educators that use innovative approaches to improve and expand arts education programs.

See the full list of grantees.

Posted on September 18, 2014 by Steve


   Full briefing notes (257 Kb)

On September 15, 2014, Success for All Foundation, the KIPP Foundation, Reading Recovery, and Teach for America convened a briefing and panel to discuss Investing in Innovation Fund (i3) grantees’ successes and difficulties since receiving i3 scale-up grants to expand their programs.


  • Robert Slavin, Director, Center for Research and Reform in Education at Johns Hopkins University and Co-Founder & Chairman, Success for All Foundation
  • Freddy Gonzalez, Chief Learning Officer, KIPP Foundation
  • Jerome D’Agostino, Professor of Education, The Ohio State University and Grant Director, Reading Recovery
  • Kwame Griffith, Executive Vice President of Regional Operations, Teach for America
  • Moderator: Sarah Sparks, Education Week
Posted on July 25, 2014 by Steve

GIA, on behalf of the Arts Education Funders Coalition, commented on how arts education and the arts generally could be better infused into a number of the priorities proposed by the Department of Education. DoE will now consider our comments as well as other public comments in fashioning final priorities to be used for its discretionary grant programs.


   Comments on Proposed Supplemental (296 Kb)

Posted on July 16, 2014 by Steve

Southern California Public Radio station KPCC has performed an analysis of arts instruction at Los Angeles Unified elementary schools. It found 87 percent of these schools won’t offer comprehensive access in the coming school year, in violation of California law. Only about 70 of the district’s more than 500 elementary schools will provide all four art forms: dance, visual arts, music and theater. But most of those only provide arts access to a portion of each school’s students.

The data also shows that some geographic areas of the district receive less arts access than others. More than a dozen schools in and near San Pedro, for example, do not offer all four art forms.

This is the first comprehensive look at arts access at L.A. Unified elementary schools in recent years. KPCC...

Posted on July 10, 2014 by admin

Ingenuity, a Chicago-based arts advocacy organization, has released a new report, State of the Arts in Chicago Public Schools, detailing the level of arts-related instruction, staffing, partnerships, and funding in Chicago Public Schools during the 2012-13 school year. The data collected describes how schools match up to the goals and recommendations set forth in the City’s first-ever CPS Arts Education Plan which was approved by the Chicago Board of Education in November of 2012. Data was reported through multiple sources, including directly from individual CPS schools’ via Arts Liaisons using Ingenuity’s artlook Schools site. Additionally, data was collected from CPS District files through a data sharing agreement, as well as from the Illinois State Board of Education, from hundreds of community arts partners through Ingenuity’s artlook Partners site, as well as qualitative data from Ingenuity’s advisory panels, CPS parents, and students.

Key findings from the report include:

  • 94 percent of the 577 District-run schools have at least one full- or part-time credentialed arts instructor, though student access to teachers...
Posted on June 27, 2014 by Steve

From Lindsey Christ at NY1:

According to City Comptroller Scott Stringer, one out of every seven middle and high schools in the city are without an arts teacher, even though they are required by state law. When you add in elementary schools, the number becomes even higher, one out of five. More than 40 percent of those schools are clustered in either Central Brooklyn or the South Bronx.

"I mean, I wish I had a teacher. I wish," said student Isaiah Fuentes. "I could spend my time there, instead of, you know, walking the hallways. You could go in there and, you know, actually learn something. "

Now, thanks to the city budget agreed to last week, there's an additional $23 million for school arts funding. Now, advocates say, it's up to the city to use it effectively.

Read the full article.

Posted on April 24, 2014 by Steve

Since 1995, I have been a huge fan of A+ Schools based on Howard Gardner's multiple intelligences and using art specialist working with classroom teachers to develop joint curriculum. Here's a great video on how and why it works. Janet Brown, President & CEO

Posted on April 9, 2014 by Steve

New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer has released a new report, “State of the Arts: A Plan to Boost Arts Education in New York City,” a first-of-its-kind, school-by-school breakdown that reveals unequal access to arts education for children living in some of the City’s lowest-income communities and violations of State Education mandate governing middle and high school arts teachers. The report gathered the most recent data available from the Department of Education’s (DOE) Annual Arts in Schools Reports to assess public schools’ capacity to deliver arts services and programs, focusing on whether schools employ full- or part-time certified arts teachers, have dedicated rooms for arts instruction, or have formal partnerships with arts and cultural organizations.

Get the full report.

Posted on March 13, 2014 by Steve

From Asheley McBride, Management and Program Analyst for the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Innovation and Improvement:

The Arts in Education Model Development and Dissemination (AEMDD) grant program released its Notice Inviting Applications for new FY 2014 grant awards on Tuesday, February 25, 2014 in the Federal Register.

AEMMD grants are designed to enable Local Educational Agencies (LEAs) and organizations with arts expertise to further create and develop materials for the replication or adaptation of current comprehensive approaches for integrating a range of arts disciplines-such as music, dance, theater, and visual arts, including folk arts-into the elementary and middle school curricula.

Live pre-application webinar will be held on Tuesday, March 18 to assist applicants with the application process. After the webinar occurs, a recording will be posted to the AEMDD program website. Please visit the AEMDD webpage to access the webinar. Any questions should be directed to Asheley McBride at 202-453-6850 or