Trenton – New Jersey Secretary of State Nina Mitchell Wells and Acting Commissioner of Education Lucille E. Davy announced today the launch of a month-long online survey to evaluate the status of arts education in every public school in New Jersey.
During the news conference held at the Mott Elementary School in Trenton, Secretary Wells and Commissioner Davy joined representatives from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts and its planning partners to outline the New Jersey Visual and Performing Arts Survey (NJVPAE). The survey is part of a broader Arts Education Census Project, a collaborative partnership with the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, the New Jersey Department of Education, the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation and the Playwrights Theatre of New Jersey, spearheaded by the Music for All Foundation.
“We are thrilled to have achieved this milepost together and are proud to note that it is the result of true collaboration both between departments of state government and with leadership from the private sector as well,” said Secretary Wells, as she addressed more than 100 of the school’s third and fourth graders gathered for the assembly. “We expect the findings to provide us with the most comprehensive picture ever of how arts education is carried out in New Jersey public schools, and with that map we will be able to more clearly identify where resources are required to ensure a quality education for all children,” she added.
Acting Commissioner Davy said the survey marks the first time the Department of Education has collected information about the implementation of the New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards (CCCS) for visual and performing Arts. Last year, the department conducted a survey on the implementation of the world languages CCCS. Future surveys are planned on health and physical education.
“This survey is evidence of the high value we place on the arts as an important part of a good education,” said acting Commissioner Davy. “We know that quality programs in the visual arts, music, theater and dance challenge our students to be self-confident, creative thinkers. Exposure to the arts will enrich them for the rest of their lives.”
During the news conference, state officials and arts representatives were treated to performances by the school’s Praise Dancers, Mustang Chimers and the Mott Chorale and the Blue Drummers.
The survey is available online at http://homeroom.state.nj.us and must be completed and submitted online by every district in the state. The survey asks for information on programs in each school in the district. It will collect data from elementary and secondary schools that measures arts education courses, student participation, resources, instructional support and community resources in New Jersey schools. Surveys must be completed by April 30th and the results will be released in a final report in September of 2006.
Officials from the Department of Education said the partnership will provide schools, policymakers, and community leaders with an analysis of arts education while at the same time providing schools and communities with tools and resources to strengthen student learning in the arts. “An in-depth analysis of the school data will help the Department of Education and its project partners understand the level of student involvement with the arts, help to identify model programs across the state, and facilitate the alignment of resources to strengthen student learning of New Jersey’s visual and performing arts CCCS,” said David Miller, Executive Director of the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.
The New Jersey Arts Education Census Project is made possible in part by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional funding has been provided by the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, NAMM International Music Products Association, the D’Addario Foundation for the Performing Arts, David Bryan of Bon Jovi, and the Music for All Foundation.