Arts Education for America’s Students: A Shared Endeavor

The  arts are  part  of  a  balanced  education,  providing  America’s  learners  with  essential  skills  and  knowledge  they  need  to  be  productive,  college  and  career  ready  citizens.  A  “core academic subject of learning,” the arts are supported by a rigorous set of voluntary national standards and  assessment  frameworks designed  to  improve  and  support  arts  learning.  In  addition, forty-­‐nine states support sequential arts learning in their public schools with state-­adopted arts standards. 

The  American  public  values  a  quality  arts  education  in  our  schools. When  America’s  public  schools  invest  in  certified  arts  educators,  students  gain  the  opportunity  for  a  sequential, standards-­based education in the arts. Certified non-­‐arts educators in schools expand students’ opportunities for arts learning by providing curricular connections among the arts and other subjects.   Furthermore,  students  gain  deeper,  additional  standards-­based  arts  learning  experiences  through  America’s  cultural  organizations,  community  arts  organizations,  and teaching artists. It is the convergence of the contributions of all partners and opportunities that provides a quality arts education for our students. 

Despite the rich body of data demonstrating how students benefit from quality arts education, many American children lack access to it in their schools. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, students in high-­poverty schools are more than twice as likely to have no access to the arts. We believe that the inequity of access to quality arts education must be addressed. Too often, arts education is squeezed out of America’s public schools. 

An education without the arts is inadequate. Therefore, we call on our public policy leaders to  provide  a  systemic  and  rigorous  arts  education  for  all  students  in  all  public  schools  by  leveraging the expertise and experience of the partners involved in arts education. To this end, the signatories of this document will support efforts to:  


  • Advance  policies  and  resources  that  ensure  access  to  arts  education  for  all students—delivered  by  certified  arts  educators—that  develop  artistic  literacy through a sequential, standards-­‐based arts education.
  • Ensure  that  all  students  have  access  to  in-­‐school  and  community  arts  learning opportunities  that  add  value  to  a  standards-­‐based  PK-­‐12  education  in  America’s public schools.
  • Encourage certified arts educators, community arts providers and certified non-­‐arts educators  to  provide  quality  arts  education  for  their  students  by  collaborating together in support of improved instructional and classroom practices.
  • Foster proactive, long-­‐term advocacy collaborations among certified arts educators, community  arts  providers,  and  certified  non-­‐arts  educators  that  engage  parents, school leaders, and other key stakeholders to support student access to high-­‐quality arts education throughout the school and community.



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We would like to recognize and thank the following organizations that attended the May 6th, 2013 National Arts Accord Summit and worked in collaboration to create and disseminate this Statement. The following are the partnering national organizations: American Alliance for Theatre and Education, Americans for the Arts, Educational Theatre Association, League of American Orchestras, National Art Education Association, National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, National Dance Education Organization, National Education Association, National Association for Music Education, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, National Guild for Community Arts Education, and Young Audiences Arts for Learning.

Young Audiences Arts for Learning