How many hours of art education are kids in elementary supposed to have at school? Are there standards that schools have to fulfill?


Doug Israel, Director of Research and Policy at The Center for Arts Education

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Each and every state is different when it comes to instructional hours required for arts education. Many, in fact, have no requirements at all.

Here in New York State, for instance, at the elementary level each year students are required to receive instruction in four recognized art forms (music, dance, theater, and visual arts). Depending on grade level it is "recommended" that 10-20% of school day instructional time be spent on the arts, according to state education department guidelines.

Many states have also developed specific learning standards for the arts at each grade level. The standards typically describe the knowledge and skills students are expected to learn in each art form. A set of National Core Arts Standards have also recently been developed that provide a universal framework for quality arts instruction. States are now in the process of considering these standards for voluntary adoption.

To review your state's arts education standards and requirements policies check out the Arts Education Partnership's ArtScan.

To get more tips on how to build a quality arts program at schools in your district, check out The Center for Arts Education's Arts Education Parent Advocacy Toolkit.

Jennifer Oleniczak, Founder and Artistic Director of The Engaging Educator

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That's an excellent question - and to be honest, I don't think there are any national standards, which is unfortunate.

I've worked in schools in both a push in manner - coming in from an outside organization and leading art classes and programs that connect with the "standards" in both NYC public schools and NC public schools. I've also been at schools where Theatre is a class - and Art is a requirement.

In the end, it depends on the school. As a creative, I feel very strongly that arts should be part of the every day - adults are often charged with creativity in their every day, and don't know or understand how to be creative in the sense of thinking outside of the box. So many of our clients and workshops ask about creativity training with improv - so that's been an interesting observation as a creative in the business world.

That being said, here are some interesting links on art programs, with standards:

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