Angela Floyd School for Dance and Music is proud to support National Arts in Education Week 2017 by hosting our annual Bring A Friend to Dance and Music Lessons this week. Here is a little information about the National Arts in Education Week.

History of the Week: National Arts in Education Week is a national celebration recognizing the transformative power of the arts in education. Passed by Congress in 2010, House Resolution 275 designates the week that follows the second Sunday of September as National Arts in Education Week. The celebration is intended to bring attention to the cause of arts education for elected officials and educational decision makers across the country and to support equitable access to the arts for all students.

Benefits of Arts Education: As we have seen in the news lately, our country, our states, and our communities are facing challenges unlike any we have seen before. When intertwining the arts in and through education, research shows that we are better preparing our future leaders to face these challenges. According to a decades-long study, students who participate in the arts during their middle school years are more likely to be civically engaged than their peers who did not have arts education; meaning, they are more likely to vote, more likely to volunteer in their community, and more likely to sit on the board of a nonprofit organization as an adult. Similarly, we know that when schools are arts-rich, educators are more interested in their work and believe they are more equipped of teaching critical thinking skills. This research was conducted by the late James Catterall, to whom we dedicate this year’s National Arts in Education Week.

On ESSA: In the Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015, the arts are included in the definition of a ‘well-rounded education’ as a result of tremendous research that has been conducted demonstrating the positive impact of the arts in teaching and learning to develop a 21st century workforce. With the dozen arts-friendly provisions, we believe that a new chapter for arts education is upon us through state and local control of educational policy.

On Federal Funding: The Administration’s budget proposal calls for drastic cuts to funding which would impede the delivery of arts education around the country. Specifically, the money authorized in Title IV, part A, of ESSA would allow states and local districts to take advantage of the increased flexibility and address the gaps in access to arts education present in communities nationwide. Funding for Titles I and II and the Assistance for Arts Education program are essential in supporting high need schools and teacher professional development.

On Equity: Our country faces an issue of access due to local control and school-based decision making. In 2012, a report from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) found that high-poverty schools are significantly less likely to provide students with access to arts education. Former Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, stated, “This is absolutely an equity issue and a civil rights issue.” Therefore, we work to secure equity in access to arts education and articulate the role of the arts as a pathway to academic success, specifically in the education of students of color, students in rural communities, students who are classified as low-SES, English Language Learners, or those who require special education. The arts provide a pathway to success for all.

Sponsorship: Americans for the Arts’ celebration of National Arts in Education Week is made possible in part by Neiman Marcus.