arts education policy
Local Arts Education Policy
Success Indicators of Local Arts Education PolicyWhile there is no one prescription for local arts education policy, the following success indicators often exemplify a commitment to arts education at the school district level. Some districts have explicitly included the arts into board policies, whereas others have adopted a plan that includes curricula and funding allocations. To learn more about what school districts are doing to ensure a place for the arts, visit the sample school board policies section.
Written StatementWritten policies stating that the arts are just as important as other school subjects such as language arts, mathematics, the natural sciences, and the social sciences is an important first step in building a districtwide infrastructure that outlines educational values. In addition, a written statement should protect funding for arts education by explicitly stating that when budget cuts occur, reductions be distributed equally across all subject areas, rather than eliminating specific programs. School boards that adopt such policies demonstrate their commitment to arts education as a critical component to a child’s basic education.
A Districtwide Arts Education PlanImplementing a policy that includes the arts as a core academic subject should include a plan that consists of goals, objectives, strategies, budget implications, persons responsible, and a time frame for implementation. A plan should be designed following a needs assessment of arts education in your school district and should include specifics regarding standards and curriculum, instruction and methodology, student assessment, professional development, program administration and personnel, partnerships and collaborations, resources and facilities, and program evaluation.
FundingA designated percentage of the instructional program of all students in elementary and secondary schools supports a district’s commitment to the arts. This will help to secure ample teaching materials, appropriate classroom equipment, and financial support for professional development training. While external funding and seed money may be needed to launch and/or revitalize a comprehensive arts education program, sustainable programs require a funding commitment from the district’s operational budget.
Academic CreditAcademic credit awarded for arts coursework, on the same basis as other courses in the secondary school, exemplifies that the arts are valued on par with other academic subjects. Grades earned in these classes should be included in determining grade point averages and class rankings.
Graduation RequirementEvery high school student is required to complete coursework in the arts for graduation. Required study in art, music, theater, and/or dance illustrates that the district sees the arts as a fundamental component in a complete public education.
Arts Teachers/SpecialistsQualified and certified arts teachers are at the core of any successful arts program. It is important to use the knowledge, skills, and abilities of these teachers when building and maintaining a quality arts program.
District Arts CoordinatorsDistricts that employ district arts coordinators exemplify their commitment to curricular leadership in the arts. Furthermore, coordinators are a critical component in the successful implementation of a districtwide arts education plan.
Districtwide Evaluation and AssessmentSchool districts that employ assessment on student learning, teacher competence, and program effectiveness in the arts have illustrated a great commitment to arts education. The resources required to effectively conduct a large-scale evaluation and assessment of a districtwide arts program are significant.
Well-executed evaluation and authentic assessment increase the effectiveness of arts education programming. Their findings inform arts education advocacy, policy, and funding at the local, state, and national levels.