National Policy & Trends
In order to keep our stakeholders up to date, AEMS recognizes that information and communication about current and emerging arts education policies, issues, and activities should be monitored at the national level. Disseminating research about critical arts and education issues; linking our stakeholders to databases and resources of large scale projects; and alerting stakeholders to national forums and other significant themes and issues in the field are all necessary to support our advocacy efforts. It is important to build a nationwide coalition of arts education supporters who are able to assist one another in the exchange of information and resources.
Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) - Arts as Part of a Well-Rounded Education
On December 10, 2015 President Barack Obama signed S.1177, Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015 to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) is a bipartisan bill which supports the principle of educating the “whole child.” While the new act shrinks the federal role in education reform and hands more decision-making to the states, arts education advocacy at the state and local level will be more critical than ever. Important to note is that arts and music are explicitly included in a definition of a “well-rounded education” – a term that has replaced the current definition of “core academic subjects,” which had included the “arts.” The language also allows for the addition of dance, theatre and media arts to be included under the term “any other subject” that provides students with an enriched educational experience.
The ESSA 18-month implementation plan continued with the U.S. Department of Education moving forward with new regulations that will govern state plans and accountability systems. AEMS joined 51 national and state arts and arts education organizations in filing joint comments on ESSA. There were over 21,000 comments posted on the site. The letter’s main focus was to ensure that all of the arts are included in a well-rounded education and therefore defining “arts” as imperative in the language.
It is critically important in all future regulatory and non-regulatory guidance that the Department uses “arts” and not “art” to avoid the misperception that the reference is solely to the visual arts. Moreover, as part of the legislative record and clear intent of the Senate, S. Rept. 114-231 clarifies that the term “arts” is meant to encompass all forms and disciplines of the arts: For the purposes of this definition, the term ‘arts’ may include the subjects of dance, media arts, music, theatre and visual arts, and other arts disciplines as determined by the State or local educational agency.
The full document can be downloaded here.
Check out The Arts Help Achieve Multiple Measures of Success (From Americans for the Arts) – Compilation of research that supports the arts as a strategy to improve your state’s most pressing measures of success.
Check out ESSA Resources from the Education Commission of the States and the Arts Education Partnership here.
More information about the implications for arts education can be downloaded here.
21st Century Skills
21st Century Skills are those skills business and civic leaders have identified as essential to enable American workers to compete in today’s global economy. The Partnership for 21st Century Learning has emerged as the leading advocacy organization focused on infusing 21st century skills into education. The organization brings together the business community, education leaders, and policymakers to define a powerful vision for 21st century education and to ensure that students emerge from our schools with the skills needed to be effective citizens, workers, and leaders in the 21st century.
AEMS supports the mission of this organization and affirms that the arts are essential to developing the skills outlined by the Partnership: critical thinking and problem solving, communication, creativity and innovation, collaboration, information and media literacy, and contextual learning skills.
Learn more about The Partnership for 21st Century Learning.
Neuroscience and the Arts
Many leading researchers and practitioners are studying the widespread interest in how the arts enhance learning outcomes and contribute to children’s cognitive and social development. Cognitive and neurological sciences studies suggest that children who participate in the arts have advantages in cognitive development and attention for learning. However, until recently, few neuroscientific studies have explored the influence of visual art, music, dance, theater, and creative writing on how children think and learn.
In March 2008, the Dana Foundation Consortium on Arts and Cognition released a series of studies that advanced our knowledge of the relationship between cognition and the arts and, at the same time, shed light on the need for continued robust research. The release of this report coincides with the growing interest among scientists, educators, parents, educational publishers, and policy-makers to examine how learning can be enhanced through experiences in the arts.
Download a copy of The Dana Consortium Report.
On May 6, 2009, the Neuro-Education Initiative of The Johns Hopkins University School of Education, with support from The Dana Foundation, hosted its inaugural national Learning, Arts, and the Brain (LAB) Summit to explore the intersection of cognitive neuroscience, the arts, and learning. More than 300 educators, scientists, school administrators, and policy makers shared their perspectives on advancing the science of learning through the lens of arts training and its effects on cognition.
Download a copy of The LAB Summit Report.
In preparation for the LAB Summit, AEMS convened arts teachers, teaching artists, and teachers trained in arts integration to explore interesting ideas and questions about how the arts engage the mind and brain. A Compilation Report was written to capture the findings from these meetings.
Download a copy of the Compilation Report.
Over the past few years a number of studies indicate that the educational approach of focusing on “the basics” and ignoring the competencies demanded by the complexities and opportunities of modern life stifles students and educators. With this approach, students don’t learn the skills required to sustain our role as the world leader in innovation nor the values that are the basis of our pluralistic and democratic society. Fortunately, there is now strong evidence that the American public has awakened to these challenges and is demanding that schools act to once again ignite and develop the imagination of young people.
There is an “imagine nation” at the heart of this public understanding that realizes that building capacities of the imagination rests primarily with an education in and through the arts and that the arts are essential to invigorating the teaching of other fundamental school subjects.
Arts Education Partnership
The Arts Education Partnership (AEP) provides information and communication about current and emerging arts education policies, issues, and activities at the national, state, and local levels. AEP’s major projects and activities include: commissioning and disseminating research about critical arts and education issues; maintaining and linking databases on state-level policies for arts education; and convening national forums around significant themes and issues in the field. AEP partners include federal arts and education agencies, state departments of education, state arts agencies, national arts and education organizations, and arts and education collaboratives at the state and local levels.
Learn more about the Arts Education Partnership.
2011 America's Future Through Creative Schools
REINVESTING IN ARTS EDUCATION: WINNING AMERICA’S FUTURE THROUGH CREATIVE SCHOOLS
- Summary Report: View Here
- Full Report: View Here
In 2011, the Obama Administration’s President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities (PCAH) announced the release of its landmark report Reinvesting in Arts Education: Winning America’s Future Through Creative Schools.
This report represents the culmination of 18 months of research, meetings with stakeholders, and site visits all over the country. It provides an in-depth review of the then-current condition of arts education, including an update of the current research base about arts education outcomes and an analysis of the challenges and opportunities in the field that have emerged over the past decade. Recommendations for federal, state and local policymakers are included in the report.
The report cites AEMS as an exemplary model of an organization that has successfully connected artists and arts programs to schools.