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Still In Residence: Arts Education In U.S. Public Schools

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Great post. I'm old enough to be a veteran of the 80s-90s arts wars: Jesse Helms, the NEA, all that. Those times forced the arts community and the arts education industry to build an advocacy infrastructure that exists even today. MENC (now NAME) had to make advocacy a core part of its mission. Of course, it helps that NAMM and other music industry sectors were looking to lose a ton of money if they didn't support music ed. The debate is largely over: in reformy circles, you almost never hear the cries from back in the day to "get back to basics." People understand it's important. This gives me hope. The conversation can change.

Nice post. It strikes me that schools have an incentive to report more art than there is given the basic discourse that art education is good. Every school I have worked in has cut back art and other electives. In most cases, this was done without eliminating the classes entirely. Is there a survey of teachers examining their self-reported experiences with changes in art education at their schools? I think it is worth asking what one might reveal. That said, I think almost everyone agrees art is a positive and so most schools will continue to resist severely cutting basic art education.

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