AEP: Linking Practice With Policy to Integrate the Arts

K-12

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Embarking on its 25th year (and fifth year at Education Commission of the States), the Arts Education Partnership continues to serve as the nation’s hub for individuals and organizations committed to making a high-quality arts education accessible to all students.

With a diverse group of more than 100 arts, business, culture, education, government and philanthropic organizations across the country, AEP elevates research and practices that illustrate the influence of integrating the arts across academic subjects. This, in turn, provides a one-stop shop for policymakers, looking for nonpartisan information about access, impact and much more on the arts in education.

For example, ArtScan — created in collaboration with the State Education Agency Directors of Arts Education — provides the most current information on how each state addresses the arts in education across 14 specific policy areas. (You likely are familiar with the ArtScan at a Glance one-pager, which we release each year, providing a quick review of this resource.) And ESSA: Mapping Opportunities for the Arts is a comprehensive, multi-chapter resource that AEP has shared and updated in the last couple of years to highlight the ways districts and states can engage the arts in their ESSA plans.

This year, with generous funding from the U.S. Department of Education and the National Endowment for the Arts, AEP is expanding its focus to explore STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) and school choice. The organization recently hosted its first Thinkers Meeting, where 11 experts from the field convened to discuss what quality looks like in STEAM programming, identify opportunities for STEAM education in state policy and explore the projected workforce demand for STEAM skills and jobs. This work will culminate in a report for policymakers later this year. Additionally, STEAM will be the topic of a plenary session (and at least one concurrent session) at the AEP Annual Convening Sept. 11-12 in Alexandria, Virginia. (The early-bird rate is still in effect, so take advantage while you can! This convening brings together top researchers, practitioners and policymakers to discuss federal and state issues, promising practices and actionable insights in arts education.)

Beyond this new work, AEP continues to add to ArtsEdSearch — a comprehensive, searchable collection of rigorous and relevant research on the outcomes of student engagement in arts education — and to its Success Stories — an initiative highlighting successful programs that demonstrate the benefits of integrating the arts across other academic subjects. Like Education Commission of the States, AEP also provides timely services and resources through information requests, technical assistance and participation in partner events and outreach. You can stay up to date with all the goings-on by subscribing to the biweekly ArtsEd Digest.

AEP’s scope of work is vast and continually expanding to respond to the shifting education policy landscape and the needs of the field. At Education Commission of the States, we look forward to continuing to support AEP and its endeavors ahead. As new research is published, new policies are enacted and new opportunities for the arts in education arise, AEP remains on the forefront for policymakers, practitioners and researchers working to ensure an accessible, high-quality arts education for all students.

Author profile
President at Education Commission of the States | janderson@ecs.org

As the eighth president of Education Commission of the States, Jeremy leads a team of more than 55 education policy experts that serve policymakers in all 50 states through research, reports, convenings and counsel. Prior, Jeremy served many elected officials in Congress, governors' offices and state legislatures across the country. When he is not racing from airport to airport to serve state education policymakers, Jeremy enjoys running, mountain biking, skiing and time with his wife, son and two daughters. Jeremy truly believes that the best education policy happens when policymakers are able to learn from each other.

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