What does the law say about arts education?

The state definition of arts education includes a standard-based approach to teaching and evaluating all four disciplines: dance, music, theater, and visual art. Simply put, arts education is the law. Critical decisions about how and what our kids are learning lies with district and school administrators. In many schools, the arts are being cut short. And yet, the arts are part of the state definition of “basic education”.

Our kids deserve high quality, standards-based education in all legally mandated disciplines. This includes the arts.


Federal Law & Policy

Federal law defines the arts as a “core academic subject”, and state law includes the arts in the definition of basic education.

Federal: Elementary & Secondary Education Act (known as No Child Left Behind) Title IX, Part A, Section 9101 (1)(D)(11), Definitions.

Core Academic Subjects – The term `core academic subjects’ means English, reading or language arts, mathematics, science, foreign languages, civics and government, economics, arts, history, and geography.

State Arts Standards & Learning Requirements

The Arts Essential Academic Learning Requirements (EALRs) and Grade Level Expectations (GLEs) can be found on the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) website.

The CBPAs are the state assessment models designed to help schools and districts determine whether students have met the Arts learning standards.

State: RCW 28A.150.210 – Basic education act, goal (extract):

To these ends, the goals of each school district, with the involvement of parents and community members, shall be to provide opportunities for every student to develop the knowledge and skills essential to: 
…(2) Know and apply the core concepts and principles of mathematics; social, physical, and life sciences; civics and history, including different cultures and participation in representative government; geography; arts; and health and fitness.

Read full text of the Basic education act – Goal.

This was posted in the category Q&A's.
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      “As a principal, I was thinking, “When will we ever get to the arts?” We saw this opportunity and realized this was our chance. ArtsEd Washington gave us the vehicle to get aligned and focused. Parents and visitors have commented that they feel a different energy when they walk through the halls.”

      Doug Poage, Carnation
      Riverview School District