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Arts Education Partnership

The Arts Education Partnership

State Arts Standards
(formerly the Goals 2000 Arts Education Partnership) is a private, nonprofit coalition of education, arts, business, philanthropic and government organizations that demonstrates and promotes the essential role of arts education in enabling all students to succeed in school, life and work. It was formed in 1995 through a cooperative agreement between the National Endowment for the Arts, the U.S. Department of Education, the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies and CCSSO. More than 100 national organizations committed to promoting arts education in elementary and secondary schools throughout the country have joined the Partnership to help states and local school districts integrate the arts into their educational improvement plans under the Goals 2000 legislation and other state initiatives. The Partnership also includes state teams comprised of representatives from the state education and arts agencies and the state alliance of art educators, as well as local partnerships that are having an impact on arts education policy in their schools.

Gordon Ambach, Executive Director of the Council of Chief State School Officers reported on Congressional action on the Elementary and Secondary Education Act that authorizes the major federal programs supporting K-12 education. The House is taking up the titles of the Act one at a time and passed the largest program, Title I, without the major changes sought by the House leadership. Ambach reminded the audience that the House leadership over the years had sought to eliminate or drastically alter federal programs. The Senate has not taken action yet on its version of the bill. Appropriations bills for FY2000 are still being debated as well. The President has vowed to veto legislation that doesn't include funding for a class-size reduction initiative. Ambach also gave an overview of the 1999 National Education Summit September 30 - October 1, 1999 at IBM Headquarters in New York. Participating governors, business and education leaders reaffirmed their commitment to standards-based reform efforts and they unanimously approved an action statement. Participating states have agreed to a six-month action plan to follow up Summit activities. A copy of the statement and other Summit information is available on the Achieve web site at http://www.achieve.org

Jonathan Katz, Executive Director of the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies described the details behind the NEA's appropriations' decision. He also reported the plans for a Senate Resolution that designates March 2000 as Arts Education Month. Currently, Senate co-sponsors are needed before the resolution can be voted on. For updates on this and the National Endowment for the Arts appropriations, see the NASAA web site at http://www.nasaa-arts.org

*Judy Burton, Rob Horowitz and Hal Abeles at the Center for Arts Education Research at Teachers College, Columbia University in New York City explained their study of over 2000 students in grades 4-8. They found that student achievement is heightened in an environment with high quality arts education and a school climate supportive of active, productive learning. This study also reveals that arts learning and learning in other subjects has a reciprocal impact.

*Steve Tennen and Barry Oreck of ArtsConnection presented the findings from the success of their New York City program based on the report by researchers at the National Center for Gifted and Talented at the University of Connecticut. Researchers found that students involved in dance and music, especially urban students from economically disadvantaged homes, developed artistic abilities that led to a high level of success in the arts, in schools, and in their careers.

*Steve Seidel of Harvard University's Project Zero explained how he and other Project Zero researchers examined The Shakespeare & Company program based in Lenox, MA and how the Company's methods of teaching Shakespeare transformed the educational experience for both teachers and students. The researchers found that by "refusing to simplify" Shakespeare's challenging texts, students became passionately engaged in learning classic works and mastered high levels of literacy through workshops, rehearsals and performances.

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