Arts Education Month is a special opportunity in Washington state to publicly spotlight the critical role of arts learning in a complete and balanced education, and demonstrate the value of arts education to elected officials and school boards.
We cannot define a complete education without the arts. In a world where innovation and creativity are and will continue to be in high demand by employers, an arts education is critical. Learning opportunities should not depend on a zip code or an income level, yet educational opportunities – particularly in the arts – are often significantly impacted by these two factors. In Washington state, arts education is the law, recognized as an essential element in every students’ basic education.
Rather than make short-sighted decisions to eliminate this core subject area simply to close budget gaps, we must work together towards solutions that ensure arts learning as part of a complete education — so that every student at every school has equitable access to arts learning during school hours.
Studies have solidly documented the positive impacts of arts learning with 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 also show that high levels of arts participation make the greatest difference for economically disadvantaged students.
For students to have the best chance of fulfilling their potential, learning in and through the arts must be part of their education, provided on equal footing with subjects such as math and English. We must all work together to provide students with the complete education they have been promised.
What can I do?
Simply commit. It is through consistent and collective efforts that we will impact change and Arts Education Month is a great time to simply commit to the cause by:
- Becoming a member of ArtsEd Washington. Your support at any level helps us move closer to our goal of advancing the arts within the education conversation year-round.
- Learning more about the issues. Washington has among the strongest laws and policies in the country requiring that the arts be taught in our schools, yet local implementation is inconsistent and inequitable.
- Exploring practical tools you can use. We’re making it simple for you to access ready-to-use tools including templates, talking points, and more — creating easy ways for you to connect with your local school board and elected officials.
What comes next?
Make your voice heard… no experience necessary! Building a foundation of support for the future is vital. Speaking out may sound scary, but it’s really not. Policymakers rely on hearing from each of us and every voice counts towards creating a broad coalition of support — critical in efforts to advance change.
We’re committed to empowering the leadership capacity of every individual to be the voice for arts education in their local communities. The best thing is speaking out doesn’t require any special qualifications, clout, or experience. If you want to help in ongoing efforts to initiate change, you’re qualified, and it’s easy to start!
Check out our easy-to-access online tools and resources that can help you take your next step in making your voice heard among your school district officials and elected leaders.
In our Arts Education Month toolkit, you can find several templates to encourage grassroots leadership at every level including talking points, letters, a sample press release, sample resolutions, and more. You can start showing up and speaking out for arts in our schools right now! There is something that each and every one of us can do and here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Connect with us. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to get news and updates regularly.
- Share information. Let ArtsEd Washington know about what’s happening in your community during Arts Education Month including special events, media coverage, and proclamations. We’ll post it to our website, giving you greater coverage!
- Use our toolkit. Send a letter, request a proclamation from leaders such as your school board or City/elected officials, educate your community, and encourage others to join the movement.
Get started today and be a part of the collective efforts to impact change!
Arts Education Month was supported, in part, by an award from
Arts Education Month is also made possible with the support and partnership of