In recent years many school districts have had to restructure their arts curriculums to meet the growing emphasis on standards that is central to most school reform. This unique collection is meant to assist educators, policymakers, grantmakers and other stakeholders by focusing on the potential benefits of arts education for students and communities alike, and providing examples of creative ways school districts are handling their constraints.

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Collaboration Paints a Bright Future for Arts Education

February 1, 2011

In July 2010, working with a nonprofit organization called Big Thought, officials at the Dallas IndependentSchool District embarked on an approach to summer school they hoped would change the image from one of punishment and failure and engage kids. The idea was to support teachers, artists, and others to replace worksheet-style instruction with teaching animated by music, visual arts, dance, and theater.The new arts-rich summer school program that resulted is just another sign of Dallas' initiative, spearheaded by BigThought (www.bigthought.org), to bring together schools, cultural organizations, and others to restore high-quality arts instruction to the many classrooms from which it has long been missing. "What's the goal of education: to assess kids or prepare them for life?" asks Craig Welle, executive director of enrichment curriculum and instruction for the Dallas Independent School District. "If you've taken the arts out of the education system, you are no longer preparing kids for life."This report talks about the history of arts education funding and the success of the Dallas initiative.

Classroom Examples; Funding Trends