Eric.ed.gov – State Policymakers’ Views on the Arts in Education. Issue Brief

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This Issue Brief is based on telephone interviews of 21 state policymakers to discuss the salient education issues in their states and their views on arts education. Six state senators, eight state representatives, one state board of education member, two deputy commissioners of education, three current state superintendents and one former state superintendent were interviewed between November 21, 2005 and February 27, 2006. All of the legislators serve on their respective education committees, and most chair these committees. Political affiliation among these policymakers was approximately equal, with nine Republicans, 10 Democrats and two unidentified. When asked to describe the most salient education issues in their states, quite a few policymakers mention issues that arts can help address, such as dropout prevention and the achievement gap between poor and more affluent students. Almost all policymakers, regardless of party affiliation, agree that arts can contribute to a quality education and that students should have some exposure to the arts. Some maintain that while the arts can be important to the curriculum, schools must give first priority to ensuring that students master the core subjects and that when funding difficulties arise, the arts are easy to cut. Ultimately, the question for these policymakers is not whether the arts should be included in the K-12 curriculum, but to what extent. While most policymakers interviewed for this study expressed reluctance to get involved in decisions about curriculum, they do suggest several avenues for advocates of the arts in education. These include: (1) Professional development designed to prepare teachers to integrate the arts across the curriculum; (2) Public education about the role of arts in keeping students engaged in school, and the links between the arts and achievement in math and reading and the development of well-rounded citizens; (3) Continued engagement of the public through student performances and displays of student work; and (4) Collection of state-specific data on the availability of arts education to students; to include information such as student-teacher ratios, arts instructional time and the availability of highly qualified arts teachers.

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Troels Gannerup Christensen

Jeg er ansat som adjunkt hos Læreruddannelsen i Jelling, hvor jeg underviser i matematik, specialiseringsmodulet teknologiforståelse, praktik m.m. Jeg har tidligere været ansat som pædagogisk konsulent i matematik og tysk hos UCL ved Center for Undervisningsmidler (CFU) i Vejle og lærer i udskolingen (7.-9. klasse) på Lyshøjskolen i Kolding. Jeg er ejer af og driver bl.a. hjemmesiderne www.lærklokken.dk og www.iundervisning.dk, ggbkursus.dk og er tidligere fagredaktør på matematik på emu.dk. Jeg går ind for, at læring skal være let tilgængelig og i størst mulig omfang gratis at benytte.

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