State Looking for Public Feedback on Arts Education; Public Sessions Scheduled
With state education leaders actively considering including arts education into their new accountability frameworks for the upcoming school year, the Commonwealth is holding forums across the state to get feedback from the public.
Changes in federal law under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) direct states to restructure their accountability and assistance systems for schools and districts. This offers Massachusetts an opportunity to move beyond its current accountability system based on just test scores, graduation rates, and language proficiency by including access and participation to arts education.
Over the past two decades, access and participation in arts education in grades K-12 has dropped for many districts across the Commonwealth. Access or participation in arts education is currently not part of any state assessment frameworks. As a result, many children do not have the opportunity to learn the important skills such as critical thinking, teamwork, and creativity that a quality arts education provides.
The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) is hosting five discussion (Boston and Shrewsbury were already held) to seek public input.
- Brockton Public Forum -- Tuesday, November 29th, 6:00-7:30, at Brockton High School
- Holyoke Public Forum -- Thursday, December 1st, 6:00-7:30, at Holyoke High School
- Salem Public Forum -- Tuesday, December 6th, 6:00-7:30, at Collins Middle School
The Arts for All Coalition, which consists of MASSCreative, Arts|Learning, EdVestors, the Boston Public Schools, Project Learn, MassINC, and Young Audience of Massachusetts is urging DESE to:
- Ensure universal access and participation in arts education by students in grades K-8 and certain requirements for high school students.
- Encouragement from the state for districts to use arts education in an effective strategy to achieve the goals of Title I. Title I is a federally funded program to ensure that all children have a fair, equal, and significant opportunity to obtain a high-quality education and reach, at a minimum, proficiency on challenging state academic achievement standards and state academic assessments.
- Utilize Title II money for professional development training to help ensure a high quality of arts education teachers.
- Utilize Title IV (part B) to ensure community engagement with the school, administration, and students.