For equity AND quality

By Edward Pauly

   I'd like to point to some important new evidence pointing to effective ways we can support arts learning opportunities for our kids.  The new Rand study, "Revitializing Arts Education Through Community-Wide Coordination" commissioned by The Wallace Foundation, identifies lots of great ideas AND the evidence that shows their recent track record.  One of the most powerful approaches to building educators' and community members' support for arts learning is an audit that shows who's getting what, and who's not.

   Rand's research team looked at six cities and found that most "used audits to gather information on how many students were served by arts learning programs by school, neighborhood, or region ... highlighting inequities in provision in order to galvanize funders and policymakers, and establishing plans to fill gaps in provision. Audits often served as the first step in igniting coordinated efforts to improve access."

   And these audits worked. They revealed "similar patterns: Access to arts education in these regions was inequitable ... students' access to these programs depended on the school they attended and was, at best, idiosyncratic ... [Leaders] reported using audit reports to galvanize supoport for more equitable provision of arts education and to launch coordinated efforts to overcome inequities."

   When we connect with other educators, parents, and community leaders around the facts - who has opportunities for rich arts learning and who doesn't - we can start a conversation about our values, our kids' needs, and the challenges facing our schools and our after-school programs.  And with the facts on the table, cities across the country have built on that conversation to construct their own approaches to making quality arts learning available to all kids.

   Facts are friendly. We need more of them.

December 2, 2008 5:08 AM | | Comments (1) |


Ed - see my post today - the quality issue is enormous...

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This Conversation For decades, as teaching of the arts has been cut back in our public schools, alarms have been raised about the dire consequences for American culture. Artists and arts organizations stepped in to try to... more

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