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The Things You Hear about Arts Education: When Up is Down and Down is Up

There’s not one on this list that isn’t true. And of course, the best part (or worst, depending on your view of things), is that many of the startlingly contradictory statements come from the same person. It’s an update on a older post, let’s call it version 2.0.
What’s it like to support a well-rounded education that includes the arts???

Take a look at this list to find out:

If we do that for the arts, we would have to do that for every subject.

School District Official

We are going to put major resources behind Science, Engineering, Technology, and Math (STEM).
Same School District Official

We are working hard to ensure the curriculum will not be narrowed.

Major Education Policy Maker

We are going to evaluate all teachers to a large degree on state test scores in ELA and math.
Same Major Education Policy Maker

You arts people think that all principals have to do all day is think about arts education.
School District Official

Do you really, in your heart of hearts, believe that any other subject other than the arts should be taught?

School District Arts Supervisor

I would rather kids have nothing than have low quality arts.

School District Administrator

Children are transformed by simply walking into ____________ (performance venue–you can fill in the blank).
Famous Artist and Board Member of Unsaid Institution

We are proud to have served the millionth child.

Performing Arts Organization Promotional Guide

The integration of the arts cannot be done at the high school level.

School District Administrator

I am only really interested in a broad arts education that is integrated across the curriculum.

The integration of the arts has no quality and no sequence and cannot be accounted for.
Professor of Education

When is the arts program going to include us?

A non-arts subject area teacher in middle school

We like arts because there are no wrong answers.

School Principal

We do not like the arts because there are no wrong answers.


Parents are the key to arts education.

Foundation Staff Member

Parents are a sinkhole
Same Foundation Staff Member

Parents in low income areas don’t care about the arts.

Policy Advisor

Parents in low income schools understand that the arts are part of a well-rounded education.
Grass Roots Organizer

Low performing students shouldn’t be required to have the arts.

School District Official

Music Saves Lives.
Arts Advocate

There would be no arts education without cultural organizations.

Arts Administrator

There is no arts education in our schools.

Elected Official

This year is going to be another great year for arts education.

City Agency Head (in the same school district as the elected official)

Arts education is vendor driven in this district.
School District Official

We have many cultural organizations providing arts education.
Same School District Official

I had no arts in elementary school.

Middle School Student

95 percent of Elementary Schools have an arts teacher.

School District Official
(Same District as Student)

We must do something about ensuring that artists entering schools have basic educational training.

Director of Arts Education/Cultural Organization

After all the training artists have already received, why should we have to receive additional training? We’re not teachers; we’re artists.

Teaching Artist

Oh, I saw you complaining, er, I mean advocating for something or other in the press the other day.

Former School District Official (and friend)

The City has decided that we don’t want your organization leading school partnerships anymore, we do that.
School District Official

Your school should recruit fewer level one students (okay, it’s not arts related, but a good one!)
A School District Administrator Offering Advice to a Zoned Middle School Facing Possible Closure


  1. Bob Morrison says

    This made me smile!

  2. Now it’s confirmed Bob, that you are truly twisted!!
    Just kidding…!

  3. John Abodeely says

    This is like “overheard in NY” for arts education people.

  4. Annette Simons says

    It’s a wonder any of us in the arts advocacy business are still sane…

  5. Love these back to back: Low performing students shouldn’t be required to have the arts. Music Saves Lives. etc, etc. Spinning Wheel! all of it, but we must fight the fight.

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