Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Access to Arts Education.

General Accountability Office, February 2009. The study researched the difference in arts education between school years 2004-2005 and 2006-2007

About 90% of teachers reported no difference in the amount of instruction time for arts education between the 2004-2005 and 2006-2007 school years. There was no reporting difference based on a range of school characteristics. The 90% of teachers reporting no difference in the amount of instruction time for arts education is different than the 30% of school officials reporting that instruction time for arts education in elementary schools has decreased since NCLB was enacted.
About 7% of teachers reported a decrease in the amount of time or arts education. There was a statistically significant difference across school characteristics. Teachers at schools identified as needing improvement and those with higher percentages of minority students were more likely to report a reduction in time spend on the arts. Schools with a high percentage of low-income or minority students saw a decrease of arts education instruction of about 40% more than those schools with a low percentage of low-income or minority students. Rural schools saw a decrease in instruction time that was equal to more than 33% of the decrease seen in urban schools.

Since NCLB was introduced, the basic state education requirements (i.e., the number of hours arts must be taught per week or the number of courses that must be taken) for arts education in schools has remained constant in most states.

Of the 32 states that awarded arts education grants both in school years 2001-2002 and 2006-2007, funding increased in 5 states and decreased in 12 states. The funding for the Model Development and Dissemination grants program and the Professional Development for Arts Educators program has decreased from $21.1 million in fiscal year 2007 to $21 million in FY 2008 to $20.7 million in FY 2008.
State art officials attributed changes in funding for art education to state budget changes more so than to NCLB requirements.

Some strategies used to maintain arts education are: varying when the arts are offered, integrating arts into other subjects, and seeking funding and collaboration in the local arts community.
Some challenges to providing arts education have been decreased state or local funding and competing demands in instruction time in order to meet the NCLB proficiency standards. For example, students not meeting state proficiency requirements could be pulled from their arts class to attend a remedial class in reading or math.

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