The best advocacy tool you have is knowledge. Knowing where your program fits into the school curriculum, what benefits your students gain from participating in your program, and how your program is funded are key to advocacy. This page features resources and articles. The Research page contains more in-depth research about the arts and arts education.

U.S. Secretary of Education Duncan's comments to the Arts Education Partnership, April 9, 2010

Video is posted at the Arts in PA blog

National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Landesman's comments to the Arts Education Partnership, April 9, 2010

Video is posted at the Arts in PA blog

Common Myths About Arts Education

1. The arts are not essential to a complete education.

Debunking the myth: There is an excellent quote by George Jellinek: "The history of a people is found in its songs." While everyday objects like household items tell a lot about how people lived in the past as well as how they live today, it is most often the images, art objects, music, plays, dances, poetry and other writing that tell us the most about a group of people. Refusing to teach these skills to students because they are "soft" skills or because they are seen as only the domain of the artistically talented is denying students the fundamental right to express their ideas, experiences and humanity, and to exchange these ideas with others.

2. Arts education is about teaching students to draw/play an instrument/dance/act, and that's just not important in today's world.

Debunking the myth: Arts education is NOT simply about teaching students the elements and principles of the art forms. (See any state's arts standards or the National Standards for Arts Education for more information.) Arts education IS about teaching students to manipulate these artistic elements in response to events and ideas around them. Just as students learn to manipulate words to convey ideas, they must also learn to manipulate images, sound and movement. This is becoming increasingly important in a media-saturated world.

3. Because the arts can't be measured on a standardized test, they're not important.

Debunking the myth: The skills that the arts teach - innovation, empathy, problem-solving, communication - can be measured using more sophisticated, more complex assessment processes. Standardized testing, by its nature, measures best those things that have clear right and wrong answers. However, when we look at our daily lives, there are an overwhelming number of decisions we make every day that do not have clear right and wrong answers. Preparing students only with basic skills and expecting that they'll pick up the rest of what they need to be productive citizens somewhere along the way is folly.

4. Taxpayer dollars shouldn't be spent on arts education. If you want your child to learn to draw/play an instrument/dance/act, etc., you should pay for the lessons yourself.

Debunking the myth: As a society, we have agreed that public funding for education is important. As stated above, there is more to arts education than learning how to make art. As part of a comprehensive education, the arts provide students with knowledge about why people made art in the past, why they make art today, and how they interact with the world around them. This is an important part of a well-rounded education FOR EVERY STUDENT, and something that should continue to be funded by taxpayer dollars.

Secretary Duncan's letter of support

August 13, 2009

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan released a letter in support of arts education. external image pdf.png Arts Education Letter_Secretary Duncan.pdf

Advocacy Resources


Organizational advocacy pages


Toolkits and handbooks

Opportunity to Learn Standards

MENC's Opportunity-to-Learn Standards outline suggestions for curriculum, scheduling, staffing, materials, equipment, and facilities in school music programs.

NAEA's Purposes, Principles and Standards for School Art Programs outlines suggestions for curriculum development, personnel, time, scheduling, facilities, materials, equipment, resources and budget.

The National Dance Association and National Dance Education Organization require either a membership or a fee-for-download to view their opportunity to learn standards.

The Arts' Role in Schools

Elliot Eisner's "10 Lessons the Arts Teach"

What is arts education? "The Four-legged Chair of Arts Education" by Joan Weber

"Art and Soul: Why Arts Education Must Be Saved" from Edutopia. Highlights include:

"Arts Education for the Whole Child" from Principal Magazine
Specific articles of interest:

Fine Arts in the Classroom Develops Leaders in the Workplace from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

"The Arts at K-12's Center Stage" from The School Administrator

"The Arts Will Help School Accountability" - Commentary by Mariale Hardiman

"Why Make Art?" from UC Berkeley's Greater Good magazine

"Why the Arts Matter: Six Good Reasons for Advocating the Importance of Arts in Schools" by Jerome Kagan

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