Arts Education Talking Points

Arts Education Quick Facts

Arts education is the law in Washington state.

  • Arts education, as defined by Washington state law, includes all four disciplines: dance, music, theater, and visual art.
  • Arts education is not an optional enrichment activity. In accordance with the Basic Education Act, arts education is a mandated core subject and required to be taught in Washington state schools.
  • Despite this mandate, in Washington state, ¾ of elementary students receive only two hours or less of arts education each week.

Arts learning is essential to success in school, work and life.

  • Learning in and through the arts supports an understanding across multiple academic disciplines, supporting overall school engagement. The arts nurture the critical thinking and complex problem solving that are essential in fostering a deeper understanding by applying knowledge, and making meaning of the material, rather than just memorizing.
  • Credible research has demonstrated consistently better outcomes for students highly involved in the arts including better grades, less likelihood of dropping out, and more positive attitudes about school. These same studies show that high levels of arts participation make the greatest difference for economically disadvantaged students.

Arts education should be provided fairly to all students.

  • Curriculum and instruction in the arts must be provided during regular school hours and build on learning each year, in the same way that teaching and learning happens in other core subjects.
  • Schools integrating the arts are better positioned to address achievement gaps, while schools without the arts are perpetuating educational inequities, denying students proven pathways to success.

Creative attributes are the cornerstone for achievement in the 21st Century.

  • In Washington State, creative occupations between 2006-2008 increased by 2.5%, and 100,000 creative sector jobs were reported in 2008.
  • Companies are seeking innovative employees who have the ability to imagine new services, create new opportunities, and develop inventive solutions to solve problems.
  • A Global CEO Study (6) commissioned this year by IBM found that more than 1,500 CEOs from large and small companies in 60 countries, representing 33 different industries, noted as their top answer that the most most important leadership competency needed to manage in an increasingly complex world was CREATIVITY.

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1 RCW 28A.150.210 – Basic Education Act (http://apps.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=28A.150.210 ).
2 Arts Education Research Initiative, 2009. Washington State Arts Commission (www.arts.wa.gov/education/aeri.shtml).
3 Critical Evidence, AEP (http://bit.ly/ekHVpt).
4 Creative Vitality Index (extracts), 2010, Washington State Arts Commission
5 http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/21/opinion/21friedman.html.
6 http://www-03.ibm.com/press/us/en/pressrelease/31670.wss.

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This was posted in the category Advocacy Tools.
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    State Board of Education Approves Increased Arts Requirements for High School Graduation The Board’s decision helped culminate a week-long national celebration of the arts, as schools, students, and communities [...]

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  • Check out Art Lessons in the Classroom

    ArtsEd Washington developed Art Lessons in the Classroom to provide visual art curriculum for elementary schools that is aligned with Washington state standards.This comprehensive and sequential visual arts curriculum provides an excellent foundation in visual arts concepts.

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  • Enroll in ArtsEd Washington’s Principals Arts Leadership (PAL) program for Fall 2012!

    We invite you to join with elementary school principals from around the region who are committed to empowering their schools with the creative foundations of learning – pivotal to delivering a complete education to every student.

    With approximately 63 percent of principals noting their dissatisfaction with the quantity of arts education in their schools*, ArtsEd Washington is delivering tools and resources that are enabling elementary school principals to directly lead their schools arts efforts and impact change in arts learning opportunities for their students.

    “As they develop into arts leaders, PAL participants are emerging as stronger, more dedicated, more effective principals. And, because the PAL model emphasizes shared leadership, these principals are building programs of success that can be sustained for years to come.”  -Gary Kipp, Executive Director, Association of Washington School Principals

    ArtsEd Washington’s PAL program is designed to increase schools’ overall capacity to teach arts to all students.  It is an opportunity for elementary school principals to participate in a nationally recognized, three-year arts leadership program and receive hands-on support and coaching from program mentors who have previously completed the program.


    PAL has been carefully designed to guide, support, and provide the foundation for successful integration of school arts programming through the following elements:

    • Establishing a School Arts Team** consisting of teachers, parents, and community members
    • Guiding principals and their teams through a comprehensive visioning process, goal setting, and creation of a school Arts Plan and timeline
    • Supporting implementation of the school Arts Plan
    • Implementing strategies to sustain arts education initiatives and shared dynamic leadership at the building level

    As program slots fill quickly, early registration is strongly encouraged.  Complete the online application to register your interest.

    Please contact Bruce Hall, ArtsEd Washington’s Director of Programs, at programs@artsedwashington.org.

    Read and share our PAL brochure.


    Read principals’ experiences to learn more about the PAL program.

    *K-12 Arts Education: Every Student, Every School, Every Year. Washington State Arts Commission 2009

    **Principals and their school Arts Team receive on-hands support and coaching from program mentors – other principals or district arts coordinators who are alumnus of the  PAL program

    Photo credits:
    Top:  Arts Impact lesson at PAL school, Kimball Elementary.
    Middle:  Seattle Dance Project at PAL Alum, Parkwood Elementary.
    Bottom:  PAL Arts Team training workshop, ArtsEd Washington.


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