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Arts Education in Public Elementary and Secondary Schools: 1999-2000
NCES: 2002131
May 2002

Arts Education in Public Elementary Schools

Highlights

  • In 1999-2000, music instruction and visual arts instruction were available in most of the nation's public elementary schools (94 and 87 percent, respectively). Dance and drama/theatre were available in less than one-third of elementary schools (20 and 19 percent, respectively).
  • Overall, 72 percent of elementary schools that offered music instruction and 55 percent of elementary schools that offered visual arts instruction employed full-time specialists to teach these subjects. Full-time specialists in dance were employed by 24 percent of elementary schools that offered this subject, and full-time specialists in drama/theatre were employed by 16 percent of elementary schools that offered it.
  • Sixty-seven percent of elementary schools that offered music had dedicated rooms with special equipment for instruction in this subject. Of the schools that offered visual arts, 56 percent had dedicated rooms with special equipment for visual arts. Fourteen percent of elementary schools that offered dance had dedicated rooms with special equipment for dance instruction, and 13 percent of schools with drama/theatre had dedicated rooms with special equipment for this subject.
  • Seventy-seven percent of regular public elementary schools sponsored field trips to arts performances during the 1998-99 school year, and 65 percent sponsored field trips to art galleries or museums. Thirty-eight percent sponsored visiting artists, 22 percent sponsored artists-in-residence, and 51 percent of public elementary schools sponsored after-school activities in the arts during the 1998-99 school year.

Availability and Characteristics of Arts Education Programs in Public Elementary Schools

The elementary school survey addressed a variety of topics regarding characteristics of arts education programs in public elementary schools during the 1999-2000 school year. One purpose of the elementary school survey was to determine the extent to which students received instruction dedicated specifically to the arts during the regular school day. In order to capture how elementary schools provided this instruction, principals were asked a series of questions concerning music, visual arts, dance, and drama/theatre. The first question addressed whether, and how often, a typical student received instruction in each arts subject during the regular school day. To determine the amount of instruction received in each subject, principals were asked (1) the approximate number of minutes students spent in a typical class or period of instruction, and (2) whether instruction was provided throughout the school year, for some portion of the year, or in some other timeframe.

Principals were asked to indicate the position of the person(s) who teach(es) each subject, including certified (credentialed) specialists, classroom teachers, artists-in-residence, other faculty, and volunteers. In addition, they were asked to indicate the kind of space used for teaching each subject, ranging from a dedicated room with special equipment to teachers' regular classrooms. Principals were also asked whether their districts had a written curriculum guide in the subject and whether the guide was aligned with their states' standards or the National Standards for Arts Education. 4 Finally, in order to gather some basic information about support for each subject, principals were asked whether their schools typically received monies from any outside sources (that is, non-district funding) to supplement the arts education program budget, and to indicate the percentage of the budget designated for each subject that came from these funds.

The elementary school survey also contained a series of questions that allowed principals to describe in more general terms their educational programs in dance and drama/theatre, since most elementary schools do not typically offer separate programs of instruction in these subjects (Carey et al. 1995). Thus, these questions were included to determine whether students experienced these arts subjects within the context of instruction in other subject areas, such as physical education (for dance) or language arts (for drama/theatre).

Availability of Arts Education Programs

Music was almost universally available in the nation's regular public elementary schools in 1999-2000, with 94 percent of all schools reporting that they offered music 5 as specific instruction during the regular school day in 1999- 2000 (figure 1 and table 1). Visual arts instruction was also available in most of the nation's regular public elementary schools (87 percent).

Compared with music and visual arts, dance and drama/theatre were less commonly taught in elementary schools (20 percent for dance, and 19 percent for drama/theatre).

These findings present a picture of the availability of arts instruction in the nation's regular public elementary schools. The following sections provide details on a variety of characteristics of instructional programs in music, visual arts, dance, and drama/theatre, including the quantity of instruction, teacher status, types of space used, the presence of written curriculum guides, and outside sources of funding.

Characteristics of Music Instruction Time devoted to instruction

Among the 94 percent of regular public elementary schools that offered music instruction, students in 6 percent of schools had music classes every day in 1999-2000 (table 2). Students had music three or four times a week in 14 percent of schools, and in 73 percent of schools students attended music classes once or twice a week. Students in 7 percent of schools had music classes less than once a week. Class periods for music instruction lasted on average 38 minutes.

Most elementary schools offering music (93 percent) reported that students participated in music instruction throughout the entire school year (figure 2). To calculate the total amount of music instruction that typical elementary school students received in a school year, a "dosage" variable was created. 6 On average, in schools where music was offered, elementary school students received 46 hours of music instruction during the course of a school year (table 3). Fourteen percent of the elementary schools that offered music provided students with 25 hours or less of music instruction during the school year, and 43 percent provided students with 26 to 40 hours. Twenty-one percent provided between 41 and 50 hours, and 22 percent provided students with more than 50 hours of music instruction over the course of a school year.

Music teachers. According to most leaders in the arts education community, the best qualified people to teach the arts are specialists who possess expertise that can enhance student knowledge, understanding, and skills in art appreciation and art making (Wilson 1997). Principals were asked whether those responsible for music instruction at their schools fell into any of the following categories: full-time certified specialists, part-time certified specialists, regular classroom teachers, artists-in-residence, other faculty members, or volunteers. Overall, public elementary schools that offered music were most likely to employ full-time certified specialists to teach the subject (72 percent) (table 4). 7 Part-time specialists taught music at 20 percent of schools. Smaller percentages relied on either classroom teachers (11 percent), artists-in-residence (3 percent), or other faculty or volunteers (4 percent) to teach music. Schools varied with respect to the individuals responsible for music instruction. Large and moderate-size schools were more likely than small schools to employ full-time music specialists (80 and 76 percent versus 57 percent). Schools in the West were less likely to employ full-time music specialists compared with schools in the Northeast and Central regions of the country (56 percent versus 80 and 85 percent). Conversely, schools in the West were more likely than schools in other regions to employ classroom teachers to teach music (26 percent versus 2 to 7 percent), and were more likely than schools in the Northeast region to employ other faculty or volunteers (8 percent versus 1 percent). Schools with 6 to 20 percent minority enrollment were more likely than those with more than 50 percent minority enrollment to have full-time specialists in music (80 percent versus 63 percent). Yet schools with the lowest minority enrollment (5 percent or less) were no more likely than other schools to have full-time music specialists on staff (71 percent versus 63 to 80 percent).

Space for music instruction. Access to appropriate instruments and equipment is important to the delivery of many aspects of a broad music curriculum. A dedicated space that is consistently open for instruction and in which materials are readily available facilitates a school's music program. Overall, 67 percent of public elementary schools that offered music reported having a dedicated room with special equipment for teaching the subject (table 5). Seven percent reported a dedicated room with no special equipment; 10 percent conducted music instruction in a gymnasium, auditorium, or cafeteria; and 15 percent did so in regular classrooms only. Whether a school had a dedicated room with special equipment for music instruction varied by school characteristics. Specifically, schools with more than 50 percent minority enrollment were less likely than schools with 5 percent or less and 21 to 50 percent minority enrollments to have a dedicated room with special equipment (53 percent versus 71 and 72 percent). Schools with the highest concentration of poverty (75 percent or more) were less likely than those with less than 35 percent and 50 to 74 percent poverty concentrations to have a dedicated room with special equipment for music instruction (51 percent versus 70 percent).

Written curriculum guide for music. Of the elementary schools that offered instruction in music, 81 percent reported that their district had a written curriculum guide in music that the teachers were expected to follow (table 6). Schools in the West were less likely than those in the Northeast and Central regions to have a written curriculum guide for music (70 percent versus 90 and 88 percent). Schools with 50 percent or less minority enrollment were more likely to have a written curriculum guide for music than schools with more than 50 percent minority enrollment (84 to 87 percent versus 71 percent). Also, schools with the lowest concentration of poverty were more likely than those with the two highest concentrations of poverty to report written curriculum guides for music (88 percent versus 75 and 73 percent).

Of the schools with curriculum guides in music, 78 percent indicated that the curriculum guide was aligned with their states' standards or the National Standards for Arts Education (figure 3), although 18 percent of principals indicated that they did not know if it was or not. About three-quarters (78 percent) indicated that the music curriculum guide had been created or updated in the last 5 years, and 12 percent of principals did not know when the guide had been created (figure 4).

Types of music instruction offered. Music instruction can take a variety of forms in elementary schools. While schools typically offer students classes in general music during the regular school day, many schools also offer separate instruction dedicated to chorus, band, or strings/orchestra. In general, these kinds of specialized learning experiences are offered as electives to students who express interest in learning how to sing in a group or how to play an instrument. In order to capture rates of student enrollment over the span of an entire school year, principals were asked to describe these types of music offerings during the 1998-99 school year. This question was asked of all principals, rather than only those indicating that a typical student received music instruction during the regular school day at their school, so that any special performance-based instruction offered to students choosing to enroll would be captured. Most regular public elementary schools (92 percent) offered instruction in general music during the 1998-99 school year. Also, most schools reported that general music was first offered to students in grade 2 or earlier (91 percent), and 94 percent of schools indicated that more than 75 percent of the student body participated in the instruction (table 7). Considerably fewer elementary schools offered instruction in chorus (52 percent), and if they did, schools were most likely to introduce students to chorus in grades 3 or 4 (52 percent). 8

Forty percent of schools offering chorus reported that 25 percent or less of the student body actually enrolled in chorus, and 24 percent reported more than 75 percent participation. Band instruction was offered in 48 percent of public elementary schools and was most typically introduced to students in grade 5 or above (61 percent). About half of the schools that offered band (52 percent) reported that 25 percent or less of the student body participated in the activity. Fewer elementary schools offered programs in strings or orchestra (27 percent) than chorus and band. Schools typically introduced students to strings/orchestra in grades 3 or 4 (65 percent), and 73 percent of these schools reported that 25 percent or less of the student body was enrolled in the program. These differences in enrollment may be attributed to the fact that chorus, band, and strings are generally offered as elective classes for interested students, while general music is typically part of the regular school curriculum where attendance is required.

Outside funding of music programs. Principals were asked whether their schools received funding from outside sources (that is, non-district funding), including (but not limited to) parent groups or local businesses, to fund their education programs in music. If funds were received from non-district sources, principals were asked to indicate the approximate percentage of the music budget that came from these sources. Relatively few public elementary schools (20 percent) received nondistrict funding for their music programs (figure 5). Of the 20 percent of schools that received non-district funds, 65 percent said these funds contributed 10 percent or less to their total music budget, and 26 percent said these funds contributed between 11 and 50 percent to their budget. Nine percent reported that more than 50 of their music budget came from non-district sources.

Characteristics of Visual Arts Instruction Time devoted to instruction

As noted earlier, visual arts instruction was offered in 87 percent of public elementary schools. Of these schools, 3 percent provided visual arts classes to students every day in 1999-2000 (table 8). In 9 percent of these schools, students had visual arts three or four times a week, and in 73 percent of schools students had visual arts once or twice a week. Students in 15 percent of schools had visual arts classes less than once a week. Class periods for instruction lasted an average of 43 minutes.

Most of the public elementary schools that offered visual arts instruction reported that students participated in this subject throughout the entire school year (88 percent) (figure 6). On average, in schools where visual arts was offered, elementary school students received 44 hours of visual arts instruction during the course of a school year (table 9). Nineteen percent of the elementary schools that offered visual arts provided students with 25 hours or less of visual arts instruction during the school year, and 29 percent provided students with 26 to 40 hours. Thirty percent provided between 41 and 50 hours, and 22 percent provided students with more than 50 hours of visual arts instruction over the course of the school year.

Visual arts teachers. At regular public elementary schools where visual arts was offered, about half (55 percent) employed full-time certified specialists to teach the subject (table 10). Part-time specialists taught visual arts at 18 percent of schools. About one-quarter of schools (26 percent) relied on classroom teachers to teach visual arts, 6 percent relied on artists-inresidence, and 6 percent used other faculty or volunteers to teach visual arts.

Whether schools employed full-time visual arts specialists varied according to school size, region, and poverty concentration. Large schools were more likely than moderate-size or small schools to employ full-time visual arts specialists (69 percent versus 53 and 45 percent). Schools in the West were least likely to employ full-time specialists compared with schools in other regions of the nation (25 percent versus 55 to 76 percent). Fifty seven percent of schools in the West relied on classroom teachers for visual arts instruction. Schools with the lowest concentration of poverty were more likely to have full-time specialists in visual arts than were schools with 50 to 74 percent poverty concentration (63 percent versus 41 percent).

Space for visual arts instruction. Overall, 56 percent of the regular public elementary schools that offered visual arts had a dedicated room with special equipment for teaching visual arts; 8 percent had a dedicated room with no special equipment; 3 percent used a gymnasium, auditorium, or cafeteria; and 33 percent taught visual arts in regular classrooms only (table 11). The availability of dedicated rooms for visual arts instruction in elementary schools varied by school characteristics. Specifically, large and moderate size schools were more likely than small schools to have a dedicated room with special equipment for teaching visual arts (67 and 59 percent versus 41 percent). Urban fringe schools (65 percent) were more likely than schools in towns (41 percent) and rural schools (48 percent) to have a dedicated room with special equipment for visual arts instruction. Also, schools with the lowest concentration of poverty were more likely to have a dedicated room with special equipment than schools with 50 percent or more poverty concentrations (65 percent versus 48 and 42 percent).

Written curriculum guide for visual arts. Of the elementary schools that offered visual arts instruction, 78 percent reported that their district had a written curriculum guide in the subject (table 12). As with music instruction, schools in the West were least likely to report availability of a district curriculum guide in visual arts compared with schools in other regions of the country (62 percent versus 83 to 89 percent). Further, schools with the highest concentration of poverty were less likely to report a written curriculum guide in visual arts than schools with the lowest poverty concentration (70 percent versus 84 percent).

About three-quarters (77 percent) of the schools whose districts had a curriculum guide indicated that the guide was aligned with their states' standards or the National Standards for Arts Education (figure 7), although 18 percent indicated that they did not know if it was or not. Eighty-one percent indicated that the visual arts curriculum guide had been created or updated in the last 5 years, 10 percent said that it had been created or updated more than 5 years ago, and 9 percent of principals did not know when it had been created or updated (figure 8).

Outside funding of visual arts programs. Nondistrict funding of visual arts programs was similar to that reported for music programs, with 22 percent of the public elementary schools that offered visual arts indicating that they received such funds to support their programs (figure 9). Sixty-three percent of these schools reported that 10 percent or less of the visual arts budget came from non-district sources. Another 23 percent of schools reported that between 11 and 50 percent of their visual arts budget was funded in this way, and 15 percent reported that more than 50 percent of their visual arts budget came from non-district sources.

Characteristics of Dance Instruction

While most public elementary schools reported that a typical student received instruction in music and visual arts in 1999-2000, fewer reported the same with respect to dance. One-fifth (20 percent) of public elementary schools reported that a typical student received instruction designated specifically for dance during the regular school day (see figure 1). However, students could also learn dance in the context of other subject areas, such as physical education or music. The elementary school survey results reveal that in 1999-2000, about half of all public elementary schools (48 percent) incorporated dance or creative movement into their physical education programs (figure 10). Dance was also taught as part of the music curriculum in 48 percent of elementary schools. In 28 percent of elementary schools, dance was integrated into other, unspecified, areas of the curriculum.

Of the schools offering instruction designated specifically for dance, 77 percent reported that students received instruction less than once a week, and 21 percent reported that they received it once or twice a week (table 13). 9 The average dance class lasted 37 minutes. About one-third (37 percent) of the schools that offered dance indicated that it was provided for the entire school year. Fourteen percent reported that students received dance for one-quarter of the year, and 37 percent indicated that it was provided for less than one-quarter of the school year.

Dance teachers. In the 20 percent of public elementary schools that offered dance instruction, 24 percent employed full-time certified specialists to teach the subject, and 14 percent had part-time specialists (table 13). In 41 percent of schools that offered dance, classroom teachers provided the instruction. Fifteen percent of schools relied on artists-in-residence for dance instruction, and 20 percent of schools employed other faculty members or volunteers to teach dance.

Space for dance instruction. In schools where dance was offered, 14 percent reported a dedicated room with special equipment for teaching dance, and another 4 percent reported a dedicated room with no special equipment (table 13). Fifty eight percent of schools indicated that dance was taught in a gym, auditorium, or cafeteria, and 22 percent of schools taught dance in regular classrooms.

Written curriculum guide for dance. About half (49 percent) of the public elementary schools that offered dance instruction reported that their district had a written curriculum guide in the subject (table 13). In 75 percent of these schools, the guide was aligned with their states' standards or the National Standards for Arts Education, although 20 percent of principals did not know if this was the case. Seventy-five percent indicated that the dance curriculum guide had been created or updated in the last 5 years (not shown in tables).

Characteristics of Drama/Theatre Instruction

About one-fifth (19 percent) of all public elementary schools reported that a typical student received instruction designated specifically for drama/theatre during the regular school day in 1999-2000 (see figure 1). However, students also learned drama/theatre in the context of other subject areas, such as English/language arts. The elementary school survey showed that almost onethird of regular public elementary schools (30 percent) incorporated drama/theatre into the language arts curriculum (figure 11). In 43 percent of elementary schools, drama/theatre was integrated into other, unspecified, areas of the curriculum.

Of the schools offering drama/theatre, 79 percent reported that students received drama/theatre instruction less than once a week, and 14 percent reported that they received it once or twice a week (table 13). 10 The average drama/theatre class lasted 39 minutes. About one-third (35 percent) of the schools that offered drama/theatre indicated that it was provided during the entire school year. Another 11 percent indicated that it was provided for one-quarter of the school year, and 33 percent reported that students received instruction in drama/theatre for less than one-quarter of the year.

Drama/theatre teachers. Sixteen percent of the elementary schools that offered instruction in drama/theatre employed full-time certified specialists to teach the subject, and 9 percent had part-time specialists (table 13). Regular classroom teachers taught drama/theatre in 62 percent of schools. Fifteen percent of schools relied on artists-in-residence, and other faculty members or volunteers were responsible for drama/theatre instruction in 17 percent of schools.

Space for drama/theatre instruction. In schools where drama/theatre was offered, 13 percent had a dedicated room with special equipment for teaching drama/theatre, and another 8 percent had a dedicated room with no special equipment (table 13). Forty-eight percent indicated that dance was taught in regular classrooms only, and 30 percent of schools used a gym, auditorium, or cafeteria.

Written curriculum guide for drama/theatre. About one-third (36 percent) of the elementary schools that offered instruction in drama/theatre reported that their district had a written curriculum guide in the subject (table 13). In 87 percent of these schools, the guide was aligned with their states' standards or the National Standards for Arts Education; 9 percent of principals indicated that they did not know if this was the case. Eighty two percent indicated that the drama/theatre curriculum guide had been created or updated in the last 5 years (not shown in tables).

Outside funding of drama/theatre programs. In schools with drama/theatre programs, 29 percent received funding from non-district sources to support their programs (table 13). Of those schools that received non-district funding, 36 percent reported that 10 percent or less of the drama/theatre budget came from these sources. Another 36 percent reported that between 11 and 50 percent of their drama/theatre budget came from non-district funds, and 28 percent reported that more than 50 percent of their budget came from non-district funding.

Supplemental Arts-Related Activities in Public Elementary Schools

To derive a more complete picture of how public elementary schools included the arts in their approach to education in 1999-2000, it is important to take into account other aspects of their programs that could enhance arts instruction. For example, what kinds of supplemental activities, such as field trips to art museums or galleries or to arts performances, are sponsored? Do schools support visiting artists or artists-inresidence? Do schools provide or sponsor after school activities for students that incorporate the arts? How do schools fund these kinds of programs? The elementary school arts education survey included several questions that addressed various ways that public elementary schools augment the arts curricula that are offered.

Availability of Supplemental Programs and Activities

Supplemental programs and activities refer to arts related experiences that go beyond regular course offerings and provide students alternative opportunities to experience the arts first hand. Examples include field trips to arts performances, art galleries, and museums. Visiting artists and artists-in-residence can also expose students to different art forms that they may not have experienced in the school curriculum.

Field trips. Field trips can be scheduled at any time during the school year, as can visits from performing artists. Therefore, rather than asking principals in 1999-2000 to project the kinds of arts-related programs and activities that would be taking place during the upcoming year, they were asked to report on those that had actually taken place during the previous school year, 1998-99. About three-quarters of public elementary schools (77 percent) reported that they had sponsored field trips to arts performances during the 1998-99 school year (table 14). Field trips to arts performances were sponsored by small schools less frequently than by large schools (67 percent versus 86 percent). Field trips to art galleries or museums were sponsored by 65 percent of elementary schools.

Visiting artists. Visiting artists and artists-inresidence (sometimes called artists-in-the-schools) are other ways that schools can give students varying degrees of engagement with the arts. For the purposes of this survey, visiting artists were defined as performing artists who visit schools to perform, demonstrate, or teach students for a period of 1 week or less. Artists-in-residence are performing or visual artists who visit a school for an extended period (more than 1 week) for the purposes of teaching artistic techniques and concepts, conducting inservice teacher training, and/or consulting in the development of curricula. Thirty-eight percent of public elementary schools reported that they had at least one visiting artist during the 1998-99 school year (table 14). In the schools that had visiting artists, the mean number per school was 3.3 (not shown in tables). The percentage of public elementary schools that sponsored at least one artist-in-residence during 1998-99 was 22 percent. In the schools that sponsored artists-in-residence, the mean number per school was 2.1 (not shown in tables).

After-school activities. Other avenues to expanding students' arts experiences are through enrichment options that go beyond the regular school day or the school's own arts curriculum. About half (51 percent) of public elementary schools reported that they provided or sponsored after-school activities that incorporate the arts (table 14). 11 Large schools were more likely than small schools (65 percent versus 40 percent), and schools in the Northeast were more likely than those in the Southeast to sponsor after-school activities that incorporate the arts during the 1998- 99 school year (60 percent versus 42 percent).

Funding Supplemental Programs and Activities

Funding is essential to maintaining or expanding schools' arts programs, and influences whether or not schools can offer students field trips or support supplemental programs such as visiting artists. Elementary school principals were asked to indicate among four different funding sources which were used to support the supplemental arts programs and activities discussed above. The sources included state or local arts agencies, state or federal education grants, general school or district funds, and parent groups. The primary source of funding for field trips to art galleries or museums, arts performances, and artists-in-residence was general school or district funds (table 15). Specifically, 63 percent of public elementary schools that sponsored field trips to arts performances used general school or district funds, as did 65 percent of schools that sponsored field trips to art galleries or museums. In schools that sponsored artists-in-residence, 55 percent used general school or district funds. 12

Parent groups also were supporters of arts-related field trips, visiting artists, and artists-in-residence. Forty-four percent of public elementary schools that reported field trips to arts performances, and 42 percent of schools that reported field trips to art galleries or museums, indicated using funds from parent groups to pay for these activities. Visiting artist programs received support from parent groups in 48 percent of schools that sponsored them, and artist-in-residence programs received support from parent groups in 43 percent of schools. Elementary schools also used funding from state or local arts agencies to support artists in- residence (34 percent), visiting artists (30 percent), field trips to arts performances (17 percent) and field trips to art galleries and museums (13 percent). State or federal education grants also were used by elementary schools to fund these kinds of programs, from 7 percent using such grants for field trips to arts performances, to 22 percent using them for artists in- residence.

Administrative Support for Arts Education in Public Elementary Schools

The elementary school survey included several questions to address the extent to which arts education received administrative support during the 1998-99 school year. For example, is arts education included in any mission statements or school improvement plans? Are schools undertaking reform initiatives related to arts education? To what extent are arts specialists included on site-based management teams or in decision-making about how arts programs are staffed, structured, or funded? Do arts programs and specialists receive the same kind of evaluation as other curriculum areas in the school? Is there a district-level coordinator responsible for the arts programs offered? Finally, to what extent do school administrators, non-arts staff members, and parents view the arts as essential to a high-quality education? All principals to the elementary school survey answered these questions, whether or not they reported offering specific instruction in any of the arts areas discussed previously. 13

Mission Statements, School Goals, and Arts Reform

Schools often prepare mission statements, yearly goals, or school improvement plans to identify topics or reforms on which they intend to focus for a given period of time. The issues addressed in these documents reveal where schools intend to expend time, energy, and resources. While inclusion of arts education in a school's yearly goals does not reflect the extent to which the school is focusing on the arts, it does suggest that the arts are important enough to be included in these goals along with other academic subjects. Thus, inclusion of arts education in documents such as these is an indicator of the status of the arts in schools. Results of the elementary school survey show that 45 percent of all schools included the arts in their mission statements or school improvement plans (table 16). Thirty-eight percent of elementary schools had undertaken a school reform initiative related to arts education or the integration of the arts with other academic subjects. Small schools were less likely than large schools to report any kind of arts reform (30 percent versus 46 percent). Also, schools in the Northeast and Southeast were more likely to report arts reform than schools in the Central and Western regions of the country (50 and 48 percent versus 30 and 32 percent).

Status of Arts Specialists and Programs in Public Elementary Schools

Another way to view the status of arts in schools is to look at the position of arts specialists within the school staff. Survey results indicate that arts specialists were generally included in selected management aspects of public elementary schools. For example, in 1999-2000, 58 percent of all elementary schools indicated that arts specialists were included in site-based management or school improvement teams, and/or leadership councils (table 17). However, small schools (42 percent) were less likely than moderate-size schools (64 percent) or large schools (65 percent) to include arts specialists on these management teams. Fewer schools in the West reported that this took place compared with schools in the other three regions of the country (36 percent versus 63 to 76 percent). In addition, schools with the highest poverty concentration were less likely to have arts specialists participating in this aspect of school administration than schools with the lowest concentration of poverty (46 percent versus 66 percent).

Schools were also asked to indicate whether arts specialists had input in decisions about three aspects of their schools' arts education program: curriculum offerings, allocation of arts funding, and staff hiring. About two-thirds (67 percent) of public elementary schools reported that arts specialists had input into the arts curriculum that was offered, compared to 55 percent who reported that arts specialists provided input into decisions about the allocation of arts funds. Fewer public elementary schools (34 percent) indicated that arts specialists had input in decisions about hiring arts staff and use of arts funds. As was the case for participation in management teams, schools with the highest poverty concentration were less likely to report input from arts specialists in all three areas compared with schools with the lowest poverty concentration. Finally, schools with the highest minority enrollment were less likely to report input from arts specialists into the arts curriculum offered and allocation of arts funds than schools with less than 20 percent or less minority enrollment.

About three-quarters of public elementary schools (77 percent) reported that arts specialists received the same kind of performance evaluation as teachers in other instructional programs at their schools (table 18). Seventy-two percent of schools reported evaluating the arts program in the same manner as they evaluated other instructional programs. Seventeen percent of schools reported that they conducted standardized or district-wide assessments of student performance and achievement in the arts. For each of these types of evaluation or assessment, schools in the West were less likely to report that they were used compared with schools in the other three regions of the country.

Fifty-six percent of schools had a curriculum specialist or program coordinator at the district level who was responsible for the arts programs in their school (table 18). Small schools were less likely to have a district specialist or program coordinator than moderate-size or large schools (42 percent versus 60 and 65 percent, respectively). Schools in cities (78 percent) and the urban fringe (65 percent) were more likely than schools in towns (31 percent) and rural schools (30 percent) to have a district-level curriculum specialist or program coordinator, and schools in the West (49 percent) were less likely than schools in the Northeast (67 percent) to have one. In addition, schools with 5 percent or less minority enrollment were less likely to have a specialist or coordinator than schools with 6 to 20 percent and more than 50 percent minority enrollments (46 percent versus 63 and 61 percent). 14

Perceived status of arts education among administrators, other teachers, and parents.

The survey also asked principals their perceptions on the extent to which administrators, non-arts teachers, and parents at their schools considered the arts an essential part of a high-quality education. 15 Response choices included "not at all," "to a small extent," "to a moderate extent," "to a great extent," and "cannot judge." About two-thirds of all school principals (67 percent) believed the administrators at their schools (presumably including themselves) considered the arts essential to a great extent, and 25 percent believed that administrators considered the arts essential to a moderate extent (table 19). Significantly fewer principals in the West expressed the belief that administrators considered the arts essential to a great extent compared with administrators in the Northeast (59 percent versus 82 percent). The arts were considered essential to a great extent by non-arts teaching staff and by parents, according to 47 percent and 39 percent of principals, respectively. Forty-four percent of principals reported that non-arts teaching staff and parents considered arts essential to a moderate extent.

Findings indicate that according to principals, parents of students in small schools were less likely to consider the arts essential to a great extent than parents of students in moderate-size and large schools (25 percent versus 44 percent). In addition, urban fringe schools were more likely than schools in towns or rural areas (49 percent versus 21 and 31 percent), and schools in cities were more likely than those in towns (40 percent versus 21 percent) to report that parents consider the arts essential to a great extent with respect to their children's education.



4 The National Standards for Arts Education, published in 1994 by the Consortium of National Arts Education Associations, identify what students should know and be able to do in kindergarten through grade 12 in dance, music, theatre, and visual arts. Many states have also adopted their own arts standards that are often modeled after the National Standards.

5 Music instruction could include general music, as well as more specialized types of music instruction, such as chorus, band, and strings/orchestra.

6 Dosage of instruction is the number of days per week music was offered, multiplied by the approximate number of weeks it was offered during the school year, multiplied by the number of minutes a typical class period lasted. Number of weeks of instruction was based on the assumption that a typical school year encompasses 40 weeks. For the purposes of this analysis, minutes were converted into hours.

7 Percentages in table 4 sum to more than 100 because respondents could select more than one category. The same holds true for similar findings pertaining to staffing that follow in this chapter (including tables 10 and 13).

8 One might consider whether findings in table 7 involving earliest grade offered (of general music, chorus, band, and strings/orchestra) might be misleading if the schools at which these subjects were offered only begin with grades 3 and above. For example, table 7 shows that at 52 percent of elementary schools, chorus was not offered until third or fourth grades. This might be because chorus was a subject reserved for older children, or else because at these schools there were no grades K to 2. Analysis reveals that the former is generally the case, although for a small percentage of schools, the latter holds true. For instance, of the elementary schools that first offer chorus to fourth graders, 31 percent begin with prekindergarten, and 59 percent begin with kindergarten. Only 7 percent of these schools begin with fourth grade.

9 Since relatively few schools offered instruction designated specifically for dance, findings in this section will not be presented by school characteristics.

10As with dance, since relatively few schools offered drama/theatre instruction compared with music and visual arts, only national findings are presented in this section.

11All sampled elementary schools are included, not just those with established arts programs.

12Artists-in-residence were as likely to be supported by funds from parent groups as by general school or district funds. Although the difference between estimates appears large (43 percent versus 55 percent), it is not statistically significant because the estimates have relatively large standard errors (5.3 and 5.1, respectively).

13 Of the 640 elementary schools surveyed, 10 (or 2 percent) did not offer any instruction in music, visual arts, dance, or drama/theatre. In addition, of the 640 schools, 16 (or 3 percent) did not have any full- or part-time specialists to teach music, visual arts, dance, or drama/theatre.

14 Although the percentage difference between the lowest percent minority enrollment category (46 percent) and the highest percent minority enrollment category (61 percent) appears large, this difference was not statistically significant, due to high standard errors.

15 It should be kept in mind that asking respondents about the beliefs of others is subject to a certain degree of subjectivity, and thus the results represent the perspective of school principals, but do not necessarily reflect the actual views of (other) administrators, teachers, and parents.

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