Talking Points for Arts Education Advocates

What do we mean by arts education?

The arts include the disciplines of dance, drama/theatre, music, and visual arts. Arts education teaches students to use acquired knowledge and skills to respond to works of art (describe, analyze, and interpret), perform existing works in the arts, and create original works in the arts.

Who supports arts education?

Many prominent national leaders agree that arts education is the key to developing creativity, knowledge, and skills for work and life in the 21st century. All of the major educational organizations, including the National PTA, National School Boards Association, National Association of Elementary School Principals, National Association of Secondary School Principals, National Education Association, the American Federation of Teachers, the National Endowment for the Arts, Americans for the Arts, and other organizations support arts education.

The National Conference of State Legislatures emphasized the importance of arts education in their publication Reinventing the Wheel: A Design for Student Achievement in the 21st Century, 1992. The National Association of State Boards of Education recommended ensuring a place for the arts in America’s Schools in a study called The Complete Curriculum, which was released in 2003. The arts are included in the core curriculum outlined in the “Goals 2000: Educate America Act,” in the “Improving America’s School Act” approved by Congress in 1994, and in the “Every Student Succeeds Act" 2015. All states have adopted or are planning to adopt state academic standards for the arts, some states assess achievement in the arts, and many states, including Ohio, require students to complete semesters in the arts to qualify for high school graduation.

We must include the arts in the education of all students if we want our children to be prepared for the challenges of life and work in our global society. The challenges of today, and most certainly of tomorrow, require the abilities, skills, habits, and knowledge that education in the arts is uniquely able to provide. -- Kent Seidel, PhD Commissioned by the Association for the Advancement of Arts Education

How can arts education be improved in Ohio?

The arts are an essential component of a general education of high quality. OAAE is working to provide the leadership to raise expectations for arts education for all students, promote learning opportunities in the arts, and improve arts education programs in Ohio. The following are some activities that arts education advocates can do to support achievement of OAAE goals:

  • Make personal contacts with policy makers and elected officials to promote high quality arts education programs in your schools and communities. 
  • Build support for the arts with colleagues, parents, and community organizations, and recruit spokespersons for arts education from these groups. 
  • Write editorials for local newspapers that support the development and implementation of state academic content standards for the arts and adequate resources and facilities for arts education programs. 
  • Respond immediately to action alerts forwarded from OAAE regarding legislative and policy initiatives that may affect arts education.