At AEMS, we advocate for arts education for all of Maryland’s public school students. This requires advocating at the level of state policy as well as working with local networks of arts education advocates to make sure you have arts education in your local communities. The more you know about the rights of Maryland students, the questions to ask, and some helpful facts and figures to make the case, the more we can work together to effectively create change for the students in your community!
Take the Journey
Arts instruction is required!
Did you know that arts education is a civil right?
The Arts are Required by Law! The Code of Maryland Regulations (COMAR 13A.04.16) requires that school systems provide their students with classes and experiences in Dance, Media Arts, Music, Theatre, and Visual Arts.
The Arts are Essential! Students need the arts as part of a well-rounded education! Arts education develops creative problem-solving, critical thinking, language skills, and contributes to Social Emotional Learning (SEL). Students who participate in the arts have higher retention rates and perform higher academically.
The Arts are Beneficial! The arts contribute to students’ mental health and wellbeing (this is true for adults, too!). The arts offer students to find creative ways to express themselves, process their experiences, and take action to challenge injustice. In the face of trauma, the arts help us heal.
Changing the Language: Arts Classes = Core Classes
You may hear arts courses called “specials,” “resources,” or “electives” but the arts are CORE classes. Arts credits are required to graduate and arts classes are required by law. It is important that administrators, educators, and families use terminology that appropriately acknowledges that the arts are required. By using language that diminishes the importance of arts education, we continue a culture that undervalues the arts as an essential component to human development, which is the status quo in many places. We must be intentional about changing that culture through the language that educators, administrators, and families all use.