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THE CENTER FOR ARTS EDUCATION announces the Art Education Parent Advocacy Toolkit


While there is no cookie-cutter approach to developing quality school-based arts programming, there is often evidence that a school values the arts. Student artwork lines the hallways. Spring performances enliven the school community. There are varied arts course offerings and arts teachers are a core part of school faculty. Reviewing the hallmarks of quality arts education outlined below can help you determine where your child’s school can improve.

Core Elements Of Quality Arts Programming


A well-rounded, quality arts education affords students access to core arts courses in a variety of artistic disciplines. Coursework should be aligned with learning standards or goals that identify the skills and knowledge students should acquire. Ideally, courses should be taken sequentially so that each class builds upon the skills and knowledge acquired in previous courses and equips students for what’s next.


The presence of licensed arts teachers on staff is a key indicator of a school’s commitment to arts education.

Arts teachers provide schools with the expertise to deliver quality instruction in the arts, whether it is dance, music, theater, visual or media arts. They also foster and sustain a school community that values arts education. Instruction provided by licensed arts teachers can be complemented by professional teaching artists, arts partnerships, and general classroom teachers to enrich and expand upon the arts coursework offered.

How many licensed arts teachers does your school have?

Which disciplines do they teach? Are they full or part-time?


Quality arts education depends strongly on school leadership that understands the value of the arts. School leaders have the power to make the arts a priority in the curriculum, devote space and funding to the arts, and engage parents and the local arts community. They can also provide opportunities for teacher collaboration and professional learning, allowing instructors to better engage students through the arts. Well-trained instructors can create more diversified and engaging curricula by collaborating across disciplines and by drawing artists and cultural organizations into their programs.


Partnerships between schools and arts or cultural organizations are an energizing force in the school community.

They provide students with expanded learning opportunities, both within the arts and across subject areas, as well as behind-the-scenes looks at the arts industry. School and cultural partners can collaborate to design and implement multi-week, semester, or full school year residencies, where teaching artists are brought into classrooms or students visit local arts organizations. These partnerships are strengthened when designed in collaboration with school-based licensed teachers.

Many states have developed specific learning standards for the arts at each grade level. A set of National Core Arts Standards have also recently been developed that provide a universal framework for quality arts instruction.

As of the publication of this toolkit, states are in the process of considering these standards for adoption.

Download a copy of the newly released Arts Education Parent Advocacy Toolkit, or view it online at