New National Study of Arts Education Looks at Specific Disciplines

Fri, 06/01/2012 - 12:07pm

Art Class by Bsivad, on FlickrThe National Center for Education Statistics has released a report outlining and evaluating the state of arts education in primary and secondary schools throughout America.

The new report, Arts Education in Public Elementary and Secondary Schools, updates a 1999–2000 report with new data and statistics from the year 2009–2010.  3,404 schools in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia participated in the project, which expands the original study by looking at “emerging issues such as the availability of curriculum-based arts education activities outside of regular school hours and the presence of school-community partnership sin the arts.”

The initial report offers important baseline data on arts education in America.  The new data builds on this by gathering “the first national data on educational backgrounds, professional development activities, teaching loads, and instructional practices of elementary school teachers.”  While the research does connect back to the initial data from the late nineties, it also drills down more deeply into the practices of arts education.

The report offers both broad perspectives on arts education as well as detailed explorations of the four primary arts education disciplines of visual art, music, dance, and theater.  For example, research indicates 94% of American elementary schools offered music instruction, while visual arts instruction was available in 83% of elementary schools.  Drama and dance were found in only 4% and 3% of primary schools, respectively.

Readers are cautioned not to read the study as an exhaustive cataloging of arts education in our nation, but instead to use the study to consider “key indicators of arts education” and to compare these indicators to the previously completed study.  The ten-year gap in the data collection provides a unique opportunity to determine the success of arts education advocacy, progress, and health.

The full report is available for download here: http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2012014. 

Photo credit: Art Class by Bsivad, on Flickr