Final ESSA State Plan includes Arts Education in the Mix!


On March 28, after ten months of work, the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) presented the final version of its plan to guide the Commonwealth’s public education priorities over the next decade. The good news is that access and participation in quality arts education is included on the Department’s priority list.

Working with the Arts for All Coalition (Arts|Learning, Boston Public Schools, EdVestors, the Massachusetts Cultural Council, MassINC, Project LEARN, and Young Audiences of Massachusetts), MASSCreative strongly advocated for arts education to be part of the new state plan as required by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Responding to over a thousand e-mails from members of the arts and education communities, the plans adopted by DESE, call for the development of a “report card” that will track schools and districts on a number of measures, including for the first time, access and participation in arts education.

These annual reports will allow parents and students across the Commonwealth to compare their school and/or district to that of their neighbors to see if they measure up in terms of arts education. Surveys routinely show that upwards of ninety percent of parents think arts education should be part of their children’s education and factor it in their decisions about what schools to attend. States like New Jersey that have adopted such report cards have seen significant increases in arts education offerings, and MASSCreative looks forward to seeing the same here in Massachusetts.

The week before the plan was released, MASSCreative’s Matt Wilson, Andre Green, and members of the Arts for All Coalition attended an hour-long meeting with DESE’s Commissioner Mitchell Chester where he also announced plans to update the Massachusetts Arts Curriculum Framework. This Framework, which provides guidance as to how best teach arts education, has not been updated since 1999. MASSCreative and DESE are in conversation about how MASSCreative and the arts and cultural community can be part of the development of both the school report cards and the Massachusetts Arts Curriculum Framework over the remainder of 2017 and through 2018.

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published this page in May 2017 News 2017-05-08 14:40:22 -0400
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