How to Reform Your Child's Arts Education
Brought to you by the National PTA®.
As a concerned parent, reform arts education in your child's school by following these guidelines.
- Get Organized. Many PTA units have a cultural arts chair who is a good source of information and who can be a powerful ally in matters of reform. Work with this person and with other groups to build a network of dedicated volunteers committed to arts education.
- Get the Facts. Obtain a copy of the National Standards for Arts Education and familiarize yourself with its contents. Copies of the complete document, along with a variety of other standards-related materials, are available from the Music Educators National Conference, 1806 Robert Fulton Dr., Reston, VA 22091.
- Analyze Your Situation. Take stock of what your school's arts programs currently offer, and what they don't offer. Is your child being taught art, music, dance, or theater by qualified arts teachers? Determine if the content of each arts discipline is taught sequentially, each year building on what the child learned the year before, or whether each grade begins at "ground zero." Learn what (or who) should be added: for example, more (or different) teacher training and assistance. Learn whether your school lacks the necessary resources to accomplish the goals, and what can be done to get those resources.
- Make a Plan. Don't assume your goal is impossible. Help is available from many quarters, including local arts organizations, charitable foundations, and universities. Also, the U.S. Department of Education has earmarked funds for teacher training and other types of assistance.
- Educate for Action. Take your case to the public. Have volunteers write letters or send postcards to decision makers telling them why the arts in general and your plan in particular is important for education. Speak to your principal about strengthening arts education. Be a voice for arts literacy before community and civic groups.
- Be Persistent. Find out what the objections to high-quality arts education are in your community and respond to them. You may not carry the day on your first try, but don't give up.
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