Wednesday, December 1, 2010

No Child Left Behind: A Study of Its Impact on Arts Education

Data collected at the end of 2008. Sponsored by the National Art Education Foundation.

This study focused on the visual arts and did not include music educators.
There has been some impact on staffing in arts education programs. When asked how NCLB affected staffing in their art program, 68% of subjects reported that staffing stayed about the same, while 25% reported that the staffing levels had decreased.

There were mixed results when studying the impact of NCLB on teaching and workloads. 65% of respondents said that their teaching loads remained the same, while 26% reported than their workloads increased. Over half of those responding that their workloads increased attributed to the increase to the requirements of NCLB. Others reported that even though their work load did not increase, art educators were teaching fewer art classes. Instead they were conducting test preparation, providing remediation, or teaching classes in other disciplines.

Over one-fifth of respondents reported that the enrollment in their art education program decreased due to NCLB, while 62% of respondents reported that enrollment levels remained constant. 32% reported that enrollments in their art programs had decreased because students were denied access to art classes due to their being required to take extra math or language arts courses or because they had failed to pass language arts or math tests required for measurement on AYP.

Funding has been affected by NCLB. While 53% of respondents reported that funding remained the same, 43% of respondents saw a decrease in funding in all or some areas. 63% reported budget cuts in the funds needed to purchase consumable supplies and 34% reported a decrease in the budgets for instructional resources. The average funding cut was 30%, with some programs losing all funding. Funds were generally cut from art education budgets to fund other programs relate to testing such as the hiring of remediation staff, purchasing additional resources or materials for remedial course, and to purchase test preparation materials.

NCLB has had an impact on the curriculum in arts education programs, with 68% of respondents reporting that their curriculum has been affected. Some findings:
- 65% reported a decrease in studio time due to increased emphasis on NCLB content in their art classes
- 60% of respondents reported increased emphasis on national and/or state standards in their curriculum
- 36% of respondents reported cutting art content from their curricula due to increased demands to include language arts and math content in its place.
- 38% reported an increased emphasis on higher order thinking in class assignment
In many cases related to the impact of NCLB, decreased enrollments and funding were caused by the loss of elective courses in order to accommodate increased credit hour requirements in language arts and math or because decisions prohibiting students from enrolling in art education courses until they had successfully passed all language arts and math courses required for graduation or for AYP measures.

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