As media coverage of our work has been building we welcome this new contribution courtesy of the New York Times. This is an excellent and thorough report on our work and what we hope to accomplish.
AS fine arts supervisor for this large Ocean County school district, Kim Defibaugh is scrambling to complete 21 different versions of an eight-page survey aimed at sizing up the art, music, theater and dance programs at her schools.
She is not alone.
While school administrators and board of education candidates spent the last week fretting over the passage of budgets or getting elected, fine arts teachers at 2,408 schools throughout the state have had other concerns. The New Jersey Visual and Performing Arts Education Survey, begun earlier this month, is being described as the most comprehensive look at arts education ever done by a state.
The online surveys, which were mandated by the State Department of Education, must be completed by the end of the month. They come at a time when districts face leaner budgets and there is a new emphasis on test scores in major subject areas.
In the detailed survey, arts instructors and administrators are being asked such things as the number of students enrolled in classes like sculpture, photography, ballet or choir; what portion of the school's overall budget is allocated to the arts; the number of classrooms dedicated to the arts; incentives for teachers to pursue professional development; if the school has an artist-in-residence program, and how often students attend performances or exhibitions outside of school. The findings, which are expected to be made public in September, will gauge how well individual elementary, middle and high schools are adhering to a state mandate to provide a well-rounded arts education.
As the first step in the broader Arts Education Census Project, the survey will also serve as the basis for identifying model arts programs and establishing a clearinghouse on arts education where schools can share ideas.
"Many people believe arts are important, but nobody's actually measuring what's happening," said Robert Morrison, chairman of the Music for All Foundation, a national arts advocacy organization, based in Warren, that is spearheading the survey effort. "We want to know who has access and who doesn't. Where are the robust programs that others can learn from?"
Read the full storyHeading Off a Culture Clash – New York Times