making arts education a priority
Making arts education a priority begins with building a unified front among parents, faculty, administrators, and fellow school board leaders. It also involves a commitment on the part of the school board to allocate and secure funding for the future sustainability of such programming.
Know Your Arts Education Policy
As school board leaders, being informed is a critical part of your job. The federal law identifies the arts as a core academic subject, just like math, science, and language arts. Learn where your state stands on arts education by visiting the 2007–2008 State Arts Education Policy Database
Build School Board Consensus
Let's face it, very few people would admit to being "anti-arts education." However, building consensus on the value of arts education can pose a difficult challenge. In addition to the supportive research section, you can visit research highlights as outlined in Critical Evidence
, which concisely illustrate the role of the arts in student academic achievement. This will enable you to build a strong argument in support of the arts in your district and community without having to pour over volumes of research.
Identify Funding Sources
A lack of funding and resources is the most common concern facing school districts. Funding does exist at the national, state, and local levels for arts programs in public schools. External funding can enable school districts to conduct a needs assessment and begin planning for a sustainable arts education program. In addition to identifying external funding sources, it is critical that school boards commit a percentage of the district's operating budget to fund arts programming. Visit the funding for arts education
page to learn more about what funding is available.
Engage the Community
Cultural institutions including museums and libraries often offer community outreach programs. Local arts agencies and organizations can assist school boards in the establishment of a districtwide arts education plan that uses community resources. The sustainability and success of arts education programming is due in large part to a shared commitment among schools, cultural institutions, businesses, and other community-based organizations. Visit the Americans for the Arts Online Field Directory
to locate national, state, and local arts service organizations in your area. Many of the organizations listed can help you—through advocacy, funding, and programming—in your efforts to secure a place for arts education in your schools.