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Improving Arts Education Partnerships

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Arts education in the nations public schools is facing challenges despite strong public support and growing evidence of its wide-ranging benefits. Educational initiatives such as the federal No Child Left Behind Act do not include accountability measures for arts education. This has prompted schools to shift instructional time and resources from the arts to other subjects. A recent survey of 82 school districts in Los Angeles County revealed that most districts dedicated less than 1 percent of their budget to arts education. One of the strategies adopted by schools to improve arts education is to tap the expertise of local community arts organizations. In 1999, the Los Angeles Unified School District LAUSD approved a 10-year, multi-million-dollar program in arts education in four major disciplines -- dance, music, theater, and visual arts -- for all students in kindergarten through grade 12. A core component of the plan is to build partnerships with community arts organizations to develop and provide programs to enhance the study of the arts. The California Arts Council asked the RAND Corporation to examine these partnerships. Unlike recent research that has focused on successful joint ventures, RAND researchers selected a sample of schools and arts organizations to portray how arts partnerships actually function in a large urban school district. The researchers interviewed the following groups 1 principals and teachers from a stratified random sample of 11 elementary schools participating in an LAUSD arts education program, 2 arts advisors from 10 of 11 local districts who are working to help implement the plan, and 3 directors of 34 local arts organizations providing arts education programming to schools. Participants were asked about their arts partnership goals and interactions and the challenges to and facilitators of the partnerships.

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  • Humanities and History

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