The arts are critical for developing 21st Century skills, student engagement, creative expression, and play an important role in the educational development of students.

Research shows that arts education closes the opportunity and achievement gaps between underserved students and those with greater access to resources. A recent study from the National Endowment for the Arts, for example, shows that students with a high level of arts engagement from kindergarten through sixth grade have higher test scores in writing and science by their 8th grade year. Another NEA study found students living in poverty are more likely to graduate, vote, and attend college if they have access to the arts as part of a complete education. And Americans for the Arts' research shows having access to arts education reduces the drop out rate for at-risk students from 1 in 4 (25%) to 1 in 25 (4%). Arts is part of the solution if students are to be college, career, and citizenship ready.

Read more for reasons why the arts should be part of every child's education.

Arts and Education Research

Arts Training Linked to Better Literacy
Read a new study by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum about impact of arts education on critical thinking skills and literacy among elementary school children.
For more information about the Guggenheim Museum, go to:

The National Endowment for the Arts

The American Music Conference

Current Research from CAAE

Facts and Insights on the Benefits of Music Study

Staying in School: Arts education and New York City high school graduation rates

21st Century Skills Map

No Child Left Behind: A study of its impact on arts education

Neuroeducation: Learning, Arts and the Brain, Dana Foundation - December 2009

The State of the Arts in California Public Schools

An Unfinished Canvas: Local Partnerships in Support of Arts Education
This explores the role of partnerships between local arts organizations and schools and districts in supporting elementary arts education in California.

An Unfinished Canvas: District Capacity and the Use of New Funds for Arts Education in California
Through a survey of district leaders, this report assessed districts' capacity with respect to arts education, explored early spending choices, and examined the relationship between the two. It also studied changes in arts education since the new resources became available and worked to understand the barriers that continue to stand in the way of comprehensive arts education for all California students. Research conducted by SRI International (The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation)

An Unfinished Canvas: Large Scale Assessment
This paper provides a review of the status of large-scale arts assessments and current practice in statewide arts assessment for the purpose of K–12-education accountability. (The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation)

An Unfinished Canvas: Teacher Preparation, Instructional Delivery, and Professional Development in the Arts
This study investigates the system for training and preparing elementary classroom teachers and secondary arts teachers to provide standards-aligned arts instruction, their familiarity with and use of the state's VPA standards, their ongoing professional development, the supports and resources available to them, and the barriers to their delivery of standards-aligned arts instruction. (The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation)

An Unfinished Canvas: Allocating Funding and Instructional Time for Elementary Arts Education
This study examines the allocation of funding and instructional time in 10 schools across five states (Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, and California). (The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation)

First Comprehensive Study of K-12 Arts Education in California Schools Finds Vast Majority Fail to Meet State Standards
A landmark study from independent research institute SRI International, for the first time systemically examining the status of arts education in California, reveals that the vast majority of California's schools fail to meet state standards for teaching the arts, and that access to arts instruction varies widely among the state's schools. (The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation)

Read the Executive Summary
Read the Full Report

Arts education in the San Francisco Bay Area:
A supplementary status report

Why Did California Schools Get Arts Funding?
Listen to an interview on KALW radio featuring the PTA.

Sound of Music Returning to Schools
The San Francisco Chronicle takes a look at the new funding for arts education in California.

How the West Was Won: A Look at the California Budget Victory
Bob Morrison of the Music for All Foundation takes a look at the new arts funding for California schools.

Quality, Equity and Access: A Report on Arts in California Schools
The briefing paper presents a comprehensive analysis of the status of arts education in California. Download your copy.

California Music Education Crisis: The Sound of Silence

The Sound of Silence: The Unprecedented Decline of Music Education in California Public Schools documents the impact of budget cuts, high-stakes testing, and the implementation of the No Child Left Behind Act on student participation in music education programs.

Arts Work: A Call for Arts Education for All California Students
According to this 1997 Report of the California Superintendents Task Force on Visual and Performing Arts: Arts education in California has been in a state of crisis since the passage of Prop. 13 in 1978.

  • "In a majority of school districts, only 10 to 25 per cent of students participate in some form of arts education."
  • "No district in California has more than 50 per cent of its students involved in arts education."

Visual and Performing Arts: California Department of Education

California Arts Council

The California Arts Project

Achieving Balance in Districtwide Arts Assesssment Systems: A Review of Issues and Promising Approaches

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