ArtsEd Washington 2011 Issue Brief
Two current issues substantially impact arts education in K-12 public schools:
- The WA State Board of Education (SBE) newly adopted graduation requirements. With the current budget deficit, the SBE will not now seek legislation to authorize and fund the newly adopted Washington Career and College-Ready Graduation Requirements that have a fiscal impact on school districts. Instead they will work with voluntary incentives and move forward with the no-cost policy changes as outlined in their Resolution, adopted November 10, 2010. The new graduation requirements include the addition of an arts credit, bringing the total arts requirement to two arts credits, and propelling our state to the forefront as a national leader in arts education requirements. ArtsEd Washington continues to support the addition of an arts credit to the high school graduation expectation and plans to continue monitoring and supporting activities towards funding and implementation.
- Maintaining the existence of the Washington State Arts Commission (WSAC) as an independent agency. Dramatic changes were specified in the Governor’s proposed state budget including elimination of WSAC’s independent status and significant reduction of funding and staff.. If enacted, this would devastate an important agency that is instrumental in advancing arts education statewide including through grants and broad support of arts education. ArtsEd Washington will continue advocating for the retention of this important state agency.
Other arts education priorities:
Through our involvement with the Excellent Schools Now Coalition, ArtsEd Washington will partner with the League of Education Voters, Stand for Children, and many others, to oppose cuts to education funding. In addition, we’ll continue efforts to raise awareness of the need to provide the arts to every student at every school because:
- Washington state law requires that all state school districts teach, and measure student progress in, the arts, but many Washington children are not receiving a sequential arts education. A 2009 Washington State Arts Commission study on the status of arts education throughout the state found that 1/3 of elementary students get less than one hour of arts instruction per week and 1 out of every 10 schools in Washington state offers no formal arts instruction at all.
- For students to have the best chance of fulfilling their potential, learning in and through the arts must be part of their education. This means they must be provided with the complete education they are entitled to – math, science, reading, social studies, health/fitness and the arts function together to effectively educate the “whole child.”
- Including arts education as part of everyday learning in standard K-12 curriculum fosters well-rounded graduates who enter college and the workforce with creative skills and a competitive edge.