The Arts and a Well-Rounded Education

With the adoption of ESSA in 2015, the term “core academic subjects” was replaced with a “well-rounded education,” which, as defined by the law, includes the arts and music. Appearing more than 20 times throughout the law, this emphasis on a well-rounded education creates fresh opportunities for schools and districts to expand learning beyond reading, writing and arithmetic to include a broader array of subjects such as the sciences, civics and the arts. 
To highlight the new and expanded ways that the arts can be included in the continued implementation of ESSA, the Arts Education Partnership (AEP) – in conjunction with our ESSA / Well-Rounded Education Working Group – is continuing to expand our series ESSA: Mapping opportunities for the arts with a new chapter on a well-rounded education.
This newest chapter from AEP informs readers where ESSA addresses a well-rounded education and provides examples for how states and districts can incorporate the arts into their strategies for addressing priorities within Title I, teacher professional development initiatives, 21st Century Community Learning Center programs and much more. This could include providing arts courses for academically at-risk students, professional learning opportunities to help teachers integrate the arts into their classrooms or arts education experiences as part of afterschool learning programs.
In addition, ESSA provides new avenues for the arts with the creation of Title IV’s Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants – a program that is new to the federal education law. This program allows the arts to be used as an innovative tool for ensuring all students have access to a well-rounded education, a safe and healthy learning environment and classrooms ready to effectively use technology for student success. Clearly the possibilities for the arts abound!
To learn more about how the arts can be included in ESSA implementation, join us on March 18 for the 2017 AEP State Policy Symposium where more than 100 national leaders from the arts, business, cultural, education, philanthropic and public sectors will come together for a daylong conversation about the intersection between the arts and education policy. The event will take place in Washington, D.C., at the Omni Shoreham Hotel.
You can also explore the resources available on the AEP website, subscribe to our biweekly newsletter the Arts Ed Digest, and follow us on Twitter! 

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