Governor O'Malley's P-20 Leadership Council Task Force on Arts Education

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On Monday, September 16, 2013, Governor Martin O’Malley’s P-20 Leadership Council voted unanimously to have a statewide task force on arts education in Maryland schools. Dr. William E. (Brit) Kirwan, Chancellor of the University System of Maryland, made the initial motion to endorse and commented on the power of the arts in his life and the importance of the arts for all students. Co chairing the task force will be nationally known sculptor and founder of Arts Education in Maryland Schools (AEMS) Alliance, Mary Ann Mears, and Dr. Jack Smith, Deputy Superintendent at the Maryland State Department of Education.

Governor O’Malley’s commitment to arts education is longstanding, and he has been recognized nationally with the prestigious Public Leadership in Arts Award. To continue Maryland’s standing as a national leader in education, the Governor wants to ensure that all students have access to a quality education which includes the arts.

Council members commented on the critical importance of creativity and innovation in the workforce and the need for students to have a creative edge in order to be globally competitive.

On Tuesday, September 16, 2014, Governor O’Malley’s P-20 Leadership Council voted unanimously to accept the recommendations from his task force on arts education. These ten recommendations are based on the principles of equity and quality of arts education. The Governor, winner of both state and national awards in leadership in the arts, has expressed his strong support of students having access to the arts in their PK-12 education by stating, “The arts give our children the skills and diverse knowledge they need to become the leaders and innovators of tomorrow.”

The recommendations are on policy, curriculum and instruction, resource allocation, and professional development. Mary Ann Mears, co chair of the task force and founder of Arts Education in Maryland Schools (AEMS), stated in her remarks to the council that the arts “connect our whole being because they speak to our emotions, our reasoning, and our creativity.” Her co chair, Dr. Jack Smith, Chief Academic Officer at MSDE, stated that “students need a complete education.” All council members expressed their support by voting yes; there were no abstentions.

The full task force report can be found here.

Charge to the Governor’s P-20 Council Task Force on Arts Education in Maryland Schools

Recognizing that a task force on arts education will be a powerful conduit for conversation and action in our state, the arts education task force is an important step to maintaining the arts as a major instructional focus for creativity, imagination, and innovation. The task force will create an action plan that ensures a quality arts education for all Maryland students. Specifically the task force will:

    • Examine Maryland policies and regulations on arts curriculum and instruction in the context of the new standards in arts education so as to identify gaps and alignment needs;
    • Determine the current status of arts education in Maryland schools;
    • Review pertinent research on the impact of fine arts instruction on student success in school; and
    • Make recommendations to the Governor’s P-20 Council regarding fine arts education in Maryland public schools to include (a) policy and regulations, (b) professional development, (c) curriculum and instruction, and (d) resource allocation.

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