Offerings in arts education vary dramatically, but access to the arts is a major challenge. Superintendents cite that No Child Left Behind mandates and lack of funding are the major barriers to providing more opportunities, and districts rely on partnerships with local arts councils, the Alaska State Council on the Arts, businesses, and other foundations to support arts education. Twenty-three (73%) districts reported they had no written arts curriculum, and of the 27% that do, only three districts have curriculum in Drama and Dance, nine have on in Visual Art, and four have one in Native Cultural Arts. There is no designated budget for arts education at the Alaskan Department of Education, but every year the Alaska State Council on the Arts provides 40 Artist-In-Residence programs throughout the state, and the Rasmuson Foundation administers $60,000 in grant funds for K-12 arts education opportunities outside the school day. This survey was the first-of-its-kind and aims to provide information to improve the state of the arts in Alaska as there is interest among schools leaders for more assertive leadership and advocacy. View full report here.

The Alaska State Council on the Arts works to enrich the cultural life of Alaskans by encouraging and supporting excellence in the arts, providing opportunities for every Alaskan to experience the arts, promoting the practice and enjoyment of the arts in Alaska, and guiding the development of the arts throughout the state. This report is the five-year follow-up to the On Thin Ice report. It details the changes and advancement of arts education in Alaska schools. Data from the report show that (1) The number of districts with a written, board-adopted arts curriculum almost doubled in the last five years, (2) Visual Arts curricula existed in 20 of the 40 districts, and (3) Theater/Drama curricula is implemented in 15 districts, 10 reported that they offered Theater courses in 2014 and 11 reported that certified teachers taught a Theater course last year. In addition, thirty districts reported that teachers designed and administered arts assessments. View full report here.


In 2009 the Arizona Arts Education Research Institute (AAERI)–a partnership of the Arizona Commission on the Arts, Arizona Department of Education, College of Fine Arts at the University of Arizona, College of Arts & Letters at Northern Arizona University and the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts at Arizona State University–commissioned a study of access to arts education in Arizona public schools. Their initial report on this research was published in 2010. A follow-up study was conducted in 2014.

The results of this survey reported that 80% of students have access to some sort of arts education in their school. 20% percent of schools offered no courses in any arts discipline. Another 22% offered at least one course in just one arts discipline. More commonly, (39%) schools offered at least one course in two different disciplines.  Music and Visual Art are most popular in Elementary and Middle Schools and 55% of schools provide the required instruction in these subjects. At the high-school level, more students are enrolled in Dance than there are in Band, Orchestra, or Theatre. 75% of schools participated in arts-based field trips, and 37% of all schools reported using Artists-in-Residence programs. 50% of schools reported a budget of $0 to support arts education, and 79% reported spending less than $1 per pupil per year, or less than half a cent per day.  More than 134,203 (13%) students attend school every day with no access to arts education taught by a highly qualified teacher. 56% of schools total have updated curricula to reflect the Arizona Academic Arts Standards. View the full report here.


89% of California K-12 schools fail to offer a standards-based course of study in all four disciplines—music, visual arts, theatre, and dance—and thus fall short of state goals for arts education. 61% of schools do not have even one full-time-equivalent arts specialist, although secondary schools are much more likely than elementary schools to employ specialists. View the full report here.

This report examines student participation and involvement in music courses over a five year period (1999-2000 academic school year through 2003-2004 academic school year). The results show that the percentage of students involved in music courses as well as the number of music teachers has decreased dramatically. The losses are disproportionate to those in any other academic subject.  Student participation in music declined by 46.5%, the largest of any academic subject area. The number of music teachers declined by 26.7% (1,053 teachers). Potential causes of declining participation include mandates of the No Child Left Behind Act and the budget crisis in California which eliminated the position of the Fine Arts Coordinator in many school districts. There are other possible explanations that need further study. View the full report here.


In Colorado, 93% of elementary grade schools (K-5), 86% of middle schools (grades 6-8), and 83% of high schools (9-12) offer some formal arts education to students. Few elementary school students received instruction in Theater Arts (11% of students) or Dance (20%).  Visual Art and Music are offered most frequently, 79%-89% depending on grade level and arts discipline. Far fewer, 22% and 11%, received instruction in Theater Arts and/or Music, respectively.  High school students were the least likely to have received arts instruction:  30% Visual Arts; 26% Music; 22% Theater Arts; 3% Dance. In total, 29,000 public school students have no opportunity for formal arts education. Although disparities exist on access to arts programs, the use of non-certified teachers is very uncommon or non-existent, depending on the grade level and arts discipline (highly trained Music teachers are essentially ubiquitous). Students receive a healthy amount of arts education:  average of 120 minutes per week.  Only 20% of elementary schools offer an hour or less of arts education. 96% of high schools use student performance in art for GPA/class rank calculations, however only 53% of high schools have an arts graduation requirement. 4/10 schools received arts instruction from a visiting artist in the past school year, and half of all schools reported arts-related field trips and 2/3 of elementary/middle schools had arts-related assemblies, as well as 81% high schools. Rural districts provided lower levels of arts education than urban districts, and larger high schools reported more arts education opportunities. View the full report here.

This report examines the significant achievements in arts education since 2008 largely due to two pieces of Colorado state legislation, Senate Bill 212/CAP 4K (2008) and House Bill 1273 (2010). These laws mandated the creation of academic standards in visual and performing arts and have led to district/teacher-created arts assessments, curricular templates, and educator effectiveness resources. Results of the 2014 study are presented within the context of the national and state economies and the changing landscape of K-12 education. Approximately 20% of Colorado Public Schools provided a detailed description of the size and scope of their formal and informal (extra-curricular) arts education programs via a voluntary survey (see appendix I) in two rounds of data collection: April- May 2014 and then again October-December 2014. Data from the report show that (1) 95% of respondents showed very strong support for arts education as an integral and impactful component to a quality education. (2) 96.7 % of Colorado public schools offer formal arts education to their students, and (3)Of the four broad art disciplines examined, Dance was, by far, the least commonly offered. View the full report here.

District of Columbia

DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities (DCCAH) goal is to ensure that every child has access to a robust and high quality education in, though, and about the arts by the time he or she graduates from a public high school in the District of Columbia. For this report, the principals of 234 schools, including 111 district schools and 123 charter schools/campuses, were asked to complete an on-line survey to provide detailed information on arts education in his or her school. Data show at least 85% of elementary, 50% of middle and 42% of high school students participate in at least one arts course with music and visual arts being the most popular. In addition, 65% of all DC schools have long term partnerships with cultural organization, which is significantly higher than what is seen in other states. View full report here.


This paper describes an analysis of data from  two  different  academic  years  of 12th grade  public  school  student  populations  from  the  state  of  Florida.  The analysis  provides  evidence  that  all  students participating in arts-related classes: 1)  stay  in  school;  2)  have  higher  graduation  rates;  3)  perform  higher  in  academic  areas  such  as  math,  reading  and writing; and 4) achieve higher scores on standardized  tests  such  as  the  SAT  and the  Florida  Comprehensive  Assessment Test.  The  analysis  is  not  an  indicator  of causation  but  of  relationships.  The process of learning and connecting information in multiple ways is far too complex for a single area to be the only contributor. However, it may be possible that the wide diversity  of  experiences  typically  found in  arts  classes  are  effectively  contributing to the total education of all students. Consequently, arts instruction should be viewed as a core component in the process of educating students for success in a global society. View the full report here.

This study captured in-depth information to supplement and update information about the current cohort of 20 AAMS and three Kennedy Center Schools of Distinction. The information was analyzed and compiled toidentify Critical Success Factors – characteristics common to all AAMS. View the full report here.


The 2009-10 statewide assesement for Arts Education was completed in Utah, Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana. More than half of the districts in three of the states did not treat the arts as a core subject, and arts teachers had very high and challenging student-to-teacher ratios. Dance education barely existed except in Utah where it was more available, and Utah experienced greater increases in student participation in the arts than the other three states. Wyoming has total (school-wide) enrollment increase of 1%, average dance enrollment decreased by 8.26% and the average music enrollment decreased by 5.30%.The Montana Arts Education Assessment showed that in elementary schools, Music (86% school-wide enrollment) and Visual Art (61%) are offered most frequently, while Theatre (5%) and Dance (3%) were rarely offered. 11% of respondents offer no high-quality arts experiences, and less than half (43%) treat the arts as a core curriculum. Arts education in Idaho reflects the national situation: the arts are core academic subjects and are included as a two-credit high-school graduation requirement, the state has adopted content standards in the Humanities to outline the skills and recommended content for grades K-12. View the full report here.


Although the arts are considered to be a fundamental learning area in Illinois according to 1985 legislation, about one-third of the students in any elementary grade receive no instruction in the arts. Inconsistencies in the delivery of arts education also exist among schools within large urban districts and between suburban school districts. View the full report here.


This online survey includes responses of teachers, principals, superintendents, community arts organizations, school arts educators, and the general public. There was clear agreement from respondents that the arts are very important for the cognitive (88%), emotional (80%), and social (72%) development of children. 81% of respondents also indicated that the arts are a useful instrument for teaching in other subjects. 99% of respondents reported that arts activities were occurring in their schools, the most frequent being art classes, music classes, and performances/concerts. Music and art, 87% and 77% respectively, had the greatest amount of instructional time and most schools had a full-time teacher for these subjects. The activities that occurred the least included dance instruction, creative art therapies, and artists-in-residence. View the full report here.


The Kentucky Arts Council contracted with the Collaborative for Teaching and Learning to design and conduct a comprehensive state-wide survey of school districts to examine the condition of arts education in the state. Out of 176 school districts, 135 responded. The survey uncovered indicators that may result in serious problems, including one in six districts has seen reduced funding for the arts over the past five years, one in nine districts has reduced the number of certified arts specialists over the past five years, and across all grade levels only one in 17 districts employ qualified dance teachers and one in eight employ qualified drama teachers. Additionally, the majority report that most teachers in their district do not consider the arts to be as important as other subjects and they do not employ district-level supervisors for the arts. The majority also report that they do not utilize arts and cultural resources in their district or community to enhance or expand their arts program. Responses to this questionnaire indicate that there is no well-articulated or consistent belief system upon which to base an arts education program in 87% of the districts. Many educators struggle to understand why the arts should be an integral part of a complete education for students. View the full report here.


The Louisiana Arts Education School Survey was an online survey not mandated by any federal or state governed agency. 154 respondents completed the survey within 19 locations. 51.2% responded that there was no specific budget allocation for arts education. Given the demands of the core curriculum, 50.8% of respondents stated that students can devote one hour or less to studying the arts during the academic day. Dedicated classroom spaces for arts instruction included 67.2% and 68.3% for art and music, but only 9.9% for dance and 21.4% for theater. 79.6% of respondents stated that inter-disciplinary learning was encouraged through examples such as collaboration between teachers, supplementing curriculum with programs by outside performers and instructors, and having students complete or experience visual and performing arts in conjunction with curriculum subjects. Funding and space/facilities had the largest impact on decision making concerning decision making. View the full report here.