A Decade of Federal Arts in Education Funding: Trends, Analysis, and the Story Behind the First 10 Years


Research Abstract
A Decade of Federal Arts in Education Funding: Trends, Analysis, and the Story Behind the First 10 Years

"The only dedicated federal funding source for arts education is through the U.S. Department of Education’s Arts in Education (AIE) program. When Congress approved the No Child Left Behind Act of 2002, it authorized the Arts In Education program to pursue “disseminating information about model school-based arts education programs.” Since 2002, Congress has approved about $448 million for the Arts in Education program, and of that total, at least $5 million was targeted for dissemination and evaluation specifically.

However, even though the AIE program had been running for over a decade, no reports had been released by the Department on the progress of the grantees.

Wanting to get a glimpse of what our field might have learned from the AIE program, Americans for the Arts hired an external evaluator, Yael Silk, to analyze about eight large boxes of paperwork from 10 years of the Department’s archives. In total, our evaluator received 148 reports. Given the amount of diversity among the grantees, both in terms of program and evaluation design, our final analysis focuses on 84 evaluation reports included in the data set. After a decade of hundreds of organizations participating in these competitive arts education grants, there had been very little national dissemination relating to the successes, and shortcomings, of these efforts—until now. We embarked on analyzing this information so that we could disseminate what our field has learned from the largest investment in arts education that the federal government has ever made. As you read through the story of this grant program, we hope that this paper will:

  • Capture compelling vignettes and larger themes within a data set focused on arts integration partnerships;
  • Consider what makes evaluating these types of programs so challenging;
  • Identify strategies for addressing these challenges;
  • and Help readers walk away with new ideas about art integration partnerships and a strong belief that these types of programs are important and doable."

This white paper covers what the U.S. Department of Education’s Arts in Education program is, how it works, and who it serves. It provides a quick overview of the grantees, the students they served, and a few stories from the program’s first 10 years to give you an idea of the types of arts integration models the grantees designed.


Silk, Yael

Americans for the Arts
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