Michigan Youth Arts, the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, the Michigan Department of Education, and ArtServe Michigan today released the results of the first comprehensive study of arts education in Michigan schools conducted by Quadrant Arts Education Research. Among the key findings are that 12% of Michigan high schools do not satisfy the state graduation requirement of a single credit in the arts, and a projected 108,000 K-12 students in Michigan lack any access to arts education.
The Michigan Arts Education Survey was designed to create a never-before-available picture of arts education in Michigan and institute baseline information for tracking and measuring future progress. This study provides essential data on student access, teacher training, assessment, and accountability in arts education in K-12 schools in Michigan, and lays the groundwork to drive future arts education policy decisions that effect all Michigan students.
“The release of this survey is an important step forward in reinventing Michigan,“ said John Bracey, Executive Director of the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs. “The fact of the matter is that any reinvention effort depends on a citizenry that is fully educated, and education efforts will be less than successful if arts and culture aren’t included. Honestly, if your reinvention goal is to have a skilled production-oriented workforce, focus on STEM. But if your goal is to produce innovators, inventors, entrepreneurs and leaders, then you have to include arts and cultural education. This survey indicates we could be doing a great deal more toward that goal.”
The study shows that while the vast majority of Michigan schools have at least one arts course, most schools fall well short of state curriculum guidelines for arts education, and per-pupil spending for curricular support of arts education averages just pennies a day. Yet the study also found significant correlations between robust arts education programs and high test scores on the Michigan Merit Examination (MME) and the ACT - schools with stronger arts education programs had higher test scores, regardless of the socioeconomic status of the students. The same schools also had lower dropout rates.
“It is simply unacceptable that there are students in Michigan without access to arts education.” said Jennifer H. Goulet, President and CEO of ArtServe Michigan. “The academic curriculum must include opportunities for all children to have access to learning through the arts, regardless of their geography or fiscal health of their schools, communities or families. Learning through the arts shapes young minds to be innovative problem-solvers, develops valuable teamwork skills, and strengthens academic achievement across the curriculum. We must work to advance policies and investment strategies that provide equitable access to the arts for all students, at a level of excellence made possible through the employ of certified arts educators, and with opportunities for model schools to share best practices with their peers.”
Accompanying the survey results, the research partners - some twenty statewide arts and educational organizations in all - have released a summary document, Arts Education in Michigan: Fostering Creativity and Innovation, with detailed recommendations to improve Michigan’s arts education landscape by focusing on three key areas: student access - equitable access to high-quality, consistent, sequential, standards-based arts education for all K-12 students; professional preparation and development - high-quality pre-service and in-service training in arts education for teachers; and accountability - a compulsary presence for arts education in state and district academic evaluation, assessment and financial systems.
“We understand the reality of economic challenges in Michigan,” said Kim Dabbs, Executive Director of Michigan Youth Arts, an alliance of over a dozen statewide arts education organizations. “This reality has united us to speak with one voice on the issues facing arts education and the opportunities we have to foster our students in the 21st century. These recommendations serve as a road map to grow arts education in Michigan, and prepare our students to think creatively, to work with discipline, and to achieve - not just in school, but in life and in the workplace.”
The research partners also plan to use survey data to identify Model Schools in the Arts and work with exemplary schools to discover what makes their programs thrive and to create a network to share their knowledge with other schools in Michigan. Model Schools in the Arts will be those that provide instruction in all four arts disciplines, meet state curriculum and graduation guidelines and requirements, employ a district-based arts supervisor with arts certification to coordinate arts programs, and allocate funds for arts programs in district and building budgets.
Quadrant Arts Education Research gathered the data in which principals of 4163 schools, including 718 private and 293 charter schools, were asked to complete an online survey detailing numerous building-level specifics on arts education in their schools, including: types of music, visual arts, theatre and dance courses offered; number of students enrolled in arts courses; number of hours in a year dedicated to arts education; certification level of teachers providing arts education; and budgets allocated to arts education. A total of 826 schools completed the questionnaire - a 20% response rate. A total of 460,066 students, or 30% the total student population, were represented by responding schools.
Report and supporting files may be found here!