Arts Frameworks Public Comments

The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) recently released a draft of the 2019 Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks for Arts for public comment. This is the first update to the frameworks since 1999 and an opportunity for stronger, more integrated arts education for every student in Massachusetts public schools.

Please take a moment to review the draft.

DESE is seeking feedback from the public on this draft as they move towards final board approval. MASSCreative and the Arts for All Coalition encourage arts education supporters and advocates to share your feedback with DESE before the survey deadline on April 23, 2019.

You can fill out the survey here.

The Arts for All Coalition suggests a few key questions to consider when reviewing the draft Arts Curriculum Frameworks:

  • Is the draft Arts Curriculum Frameworks clear throughout that the purpose of arts education is to develop artistic literacy—that is, the capacity to express meaning and interpret works in the various art forms? Do you feel the vocabulary used in the Framework is authentic to each specific art form?
    • The Arts for All (AFA) coalition recommends stronger artistic literacy statements throughout the document. For example, on page 9 add the following:
      • Vision - All students will develop Artistic Literacy.
        • All Massachusetts students will develop Artistic Literacy through active participation in the arts, expressing artistic ideas with skill, confidence, and purpose. They will understand the role of the arts in their individual lives and how the arts contribute to their communities and cultures around the world.
    • The AFA Coalition suggests the use of authentic vocabulary and artistic terminology throughout the Arts Curriculum Frameworks document.
  • Is the Connections Cluster explicit in arts integration across all subjects and disciplines?
    • The AFA coalition recommends the inclusion of an additional Practice Statement in the Connections Cluster as follows:
      • Practice 12. Connect the arts with other subject areas to expand knowledge and understanding.
        Students more fully understand and expand knowledge in other subject areas such as ELA, science, mathematics, and history/social sciences with the arts as entry points, deepening inquiry, and synthesis. Through arts integration, they can utilize knowledge of these same disciplines to more fully engage in the creative process through a wider point of reference.

  • Do the Content Standards match the Practice Statement under which they sit?
    • The AFA coalition recommends that you check the domain of the arts you are reviewing for this point and carefully consider the alignment of each Content Standard with its Practice Statement.
  • We seek a balance between measurable knowledge/skills and creative expression in each art form. Are you satisfied with this balance in the section(s) you are reviewing?
    • The AFA coalition recommends that you check the domain of the arts you are reviewing for this point and carefully consider the balance between measurable knowledge/skills and creative expression in your art form.
  • Are there enough connections to artists (visual and performing), including contemporary artists?
    • The AFA coalition believes that artists are the inspirations, contexts, and models for craft/technique in each arts discipline. Please check the domain of the arts you are reviewing for this and comment how this area may be strengthened.
  • For music teachers only: Does the music section of the document emphasize the importance of singing enough?
    • The AFA coalition recommends the addition of a specific singing skills sequence to the music section.


Arts for All is a coalition of arts educators, arts education supporters, arts advocates and education administrators working to ensure quality arts education is available to every child in Massachusetts and part of the core curriculum in Massachusetts public schools. Members include: Arts | Learning, Boston Public Schools Arts Expansion, EdVestors, Mass College of Art and Design, Mass Cultural Council, and MASSCreative. 

A sincere thanks to Danielle Bazinet, Charles Combs, Lois Hetland, Nancy Moses, Jonathan Rappaport for their in-depth analysis of the updated Arts Curriculum Frameworks.

DESE Arts Framework Roadshow

Interested in sharing your thoughts on the Arts Framework in person? In addition to the survey, DESE is gathering feedback through a set of information meetings across the state to introduce the Draft 2019 Arts Standards. These one-hour informational meetings will be an opportunity to listen to the primary goals of this revised standards, as well as ask questions and provide feedback.

March 28, 4-5PM – Worcester

April 9, 4-5PM – New Bedford

April 10, 4-5PM – Wilmington High School (Livestreamed)

April 11, 4-5PM – Springfield

RSVP to attend a DESE Arts Framework Roadshow Meeting


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