The first statewide Arizona Arts Education Census shows that many Arizona schools have found ways to deliver arts education programs with few dedicated resources.
Results from the statewide research show that nearly 90 percent of Arizona students have access to at least one arts education program. But half of the schools responding to the survey reported no budget for curricular support in arts education — and almost eight out of 10 schools spent less than half a penny a day on arts education.
“The results show a remarkable dichotomy,” says Robert Booker, executive director of the Arizona Commission on the Arts. “On one hand, we know that there are opportunities for students across the state to access arts education programs, but at the same time limited or no funding exists to support these programs. Some of our Arizona children are attending schools where they receive limited arts education and in some cases they receive none at all.
“One fact is very clear: the arts make a difference. Children receiving art instruction as part of their education have greater success in reading, mathematics, thinking and social skills, and are more likely to stay in school.”
The census, conducted between March 15 and September 15, 2009 by New Jersey-based Quadrant Arts Education Research on behalf of the Arizona Department of Education and the Arizona Commission on the Arts, produced responses from 409 charter and district schools representing 236,645 students in every county and school district in the state.
Funding for the census was provided by the Arizona Arts Education Research Institute (AAERI), a partnership of the Arizona Commission on the Arts, Arizona Department of Education, College of Fine Arts at the University of Arizona, College of Arts & Letters at Northern Arizona University and the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts at Arizona State University. Additional funding was provided by the Arizona Community Foundation.
Highlights of the census are being released today at the first Joint Arts Education Conference at the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix. Download the full report.
“It is important that the vast majority of Arizona schools are showing that they value arts education by providing access to the arts for their students,” says Tom Horne, Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction. “The Arizona Department of Education is eager to learn from schools that are providing high quality and rich arts education programs in these tough economic times, and to help schools having difficulty in providing the arts find workable solutions. Arts education is a vital component of a well-rounded education, and one which every Arizona student should have access to.”
Some highlights of the report, which also includes recommendations for parents, educators and students as well as for policy changes and adaptations:
• 87% of students have access to some dance, music, theater or visual arts in their schools.
• 55% of schools provide the required instruction in music and visual arts while 21% reported no arts classes or courses for students.
• 90% of schools with music and 76% with visual art use certified arts specialists.
• 56% of schools have updated curricula reflecting the Arizona Academic Arts Standards.
• Only 39% of high schools weight arts courses equally with other academic subjects and only 12% weight advanced arts courses equally with other advanced academic courses.
• General music and art are most popular in elementary and middle schools, general art and dance most popular in high schools. More high school students are enrolled in dance than in band, orchestra or theater.
• Charter schools are significantly less likely to provide arts courses for students or have highly qualified teachers providing instruction than district schools.
• More than 134,000 students attend schools every day with no access to arts education taught by a highly qualified teacher.
The Arizona Conservatory for Arts and Academics in Tempe, New School for the Arts and New School for the Arts Middle School in Phoenix, StarShine Academy of Phoenix, Ash Creek Elementary School in Pearce, Center for Educational Excellence in Tempe, and South Mountain High School in Phoenix led the top 10 percent of Arizona schools for arts education based on the Arizona Arts Education Index, which was created using responses to the census.