Last week the National Endowment for the Arts released three new commissioned reports, including Arts Education in America: What The Declines Mean for Arts Participation, by Nick Rabkin and E.C. Hedberg.
There’s a very good write-up on the report in Education Week, click here to read Arts Education Sees Declines, Especially for Minorities, Report Suggests, by Erik Robelen.
The analysis includes a slightly broader pool of adults surveyed in
breaking down the results by race and ethnicity, including those ages 18
to 24. Here, the data are most stark. Just 26 percent of
African-Americans surveyed in 2008 reported receiving any arts education
in childhood, a huge drop from the 51 percent who reported as much in
While there are few who can rightfully say they are shocked, since other reports such as the 2009 GAO’s Access to Arts Education, the 2007 CEP’s Choices, Changes, and Challenges, and still others, confirm the findings, this is the first we’ve seen to look at the NEA data across various points in time since 1982.
It’s a sobering read, that once again tells us that the real heart of the battle for access to a quality arts education is an equity issue for children of color.
And think about this: the data is up to 2008, when the Great Recession began, and included truly significant periods of funding increases to public education. If access to a quality arts education for children of color declined during such growth, what can we expect today and tomorrow?