Arts Education Gaining Traction in Baker Administration

Arts education in public schools will soon have a new champion! Thanks to the advocacy efforts of MASSCreative and its Arts for All Coalition partners, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) has created a full time Arts Coordinator staff position--a first in the history of the department. The Arts Coordinator will help drive a statewide arts education that is rigorous, inclusive of multiple genres and cultures, and relevant to students’ lives in Massachusetts schools.

Commissioner Jeffrey Riley informed the DESE Board at their September board meeting that he had recently filed a request with Secretary James Peyser for a full-time arts education coordinator. At the same meeting, Emily Ruddock, MASSCreative’s Director of Policy and Government Affairs, testified in favor of hiring a full-time arts coordinator.

The arts curriculum frameworks, which have not been updated since 1999, will incorporate advances in artistic disciplines and include media arts curriculum. Since last spring over 75 arts educators worked with DESE staff to create new arts curriculum frameworks and volunteered nearly 600+ hours of expertise to the project.

“This is a big win for arts education in Massachusetts” said Ruddock. “For the first time, arts education will have a dedicated full time staff person at DESE. Not only will they help ensure students receive quality arts education, but they will have a hand in shaping the evaluation tools we use to measure the impact arts education has to overall student success.”

Ruddock also praised Dr. Lurline Munoz-Bennett who, until her recent retirement, served as the Arts Education & Equity Coordinator at DESE. “Dr. Munoz-Bennett’s depth of experience and contribution to arts education was significant, and  we thank her for her work.” As the Coordinator of Arts Education and Equity, Dr. Munoz-Bennett spent fifty percent of her time on arts education and equity efforts respectively.

Sources close to DESE expect a formal job description to be released on the MassCareers website November 19th. DESE will review applications after the job description has been posted for two weeks.

Updated 11/29/10: The position was posted November 27th and can be accessed here.

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