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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Education: New Study by the NAEA about NCLB's Impact on Art Education--and many many more acronyms for your perusal

The topic of No Child Left Behind legislation and its impact on education has been a topic of interest for me throughout my graduate career. It was the subject of many discussions and many of my papers, so I was definitely interested in the NAEA's report since the research specific to art education, although present, is somewhat lacking. Thank you NAEA for your latest contribution.

A link to the executive summary is here:

For the serious ArtEd nerds, the full report is here:

Here is the condensed version via the press release:

Key Findings of the study include:

(1) In the areas of staffing, teaching loads, and enrollments art education programs have experienced limited negative consequences because of No Child Left Behind.

68% of subjects reported that staffing stayed about the same, 65% of subjects reported that teaching loads stayed about the same, 62% of respondents reported that enrollments in their programs had stayed about the same.

(2) No Child Left Behind has created a number of negative affects on art education programs in the areas of scheduling, increased workload, and funding.

67% of subjects reported that art schedules had been affected by NCLB. Although teaching loads (i.e. the number of art classes that art teachers teach) had not been affected, art educators were teaching fewer art classes, because they were required to teach classes in other disciplines, such as language arts and math, provide remediation, or

conduct test preparation in subjects. 58% of respondents reported that their workloads had increased because of NCLB.

While 53% of subjects reported that funding stayed about the same, 43% reported decreases in all areas or in some areas. Funds cut from art programs were redirected toward core classes, for test prep, remediation, and for special needs and low performing students support.

• 63% of respondents reported budget cuts in the funds needed to purchase consumable supplies.

• 34% reported cuts in budgets for instructional resources.

• 4% of subjects reported that all funding for their art education programs had been cut.

• Other funding reductions were experienced in the area of budgets for field trips.

• Those reporting funding cuts reported cuts ranging from 75% (7%) to 5% (7%).

• The average funding cut reported was 30%.

(3) Art educators generally have negative attitudes about the overall impact NCLB has had on art education programming.

The general response participants had about the overall affect of NCLB on their programs was not positive. Art educators in this study, as a group, have negative attitudes about the impact NCLB has had on a number of essential aspects of their programs.

• 67% of subjects felt that NCLB has not helped students in their programs become better learners.

• 75% of subjects felt that the quality of their students work has not improved because of NCLB.

• 89% of subjects felt that NCLB has had a negative impact on faculty morale.

• 61% of subjects felt that NCLB has not made them a better teacher.

• 73% of subjects felt that NCLB has had a negative affect on their attitude about being an art educator.

• 54% of subjects felt that the quality of education in their schools has not improved because of NCLB.

• 71% of subjects felt that NCLB has not had a positive affect on their art education programs.

• 70% felt that the status of art education has not been improved by NCLB.

(4) Some aspects of art education programs have experienced positive affects from NCLB.

Art educators found a number of positive affects from NCLB. As a group art educators feel that NCLB has contributed to making them become more reflective about their programs and their teaching.


68% of subjects reported that their curriculum had been affected by NCLB, including the following areas of both positive and negative impact:

• 60% of subjects reported increased emphasis on national and/or state standards in their curriculum.

• 43% reported spending increased time building or revising their curriculum.

• 38% increased emphasis on higher order thinking in class assignments.

• 65% reported decreased studio time due to increased emphasis on NCLB content in their art classes.

• 36% of subjects reported decreasing art content from their curricula due to increased demands to include language arts and math content in its place in their curricula.

Only 19% reported no changes in their curriculum.

Instructional Practice

• 51% reported that they are more reflective about the effectiveness of their instructional practices.

• 42% reported using more varied instructional methods for instruction.

• 37% reported that they use technology more frequently for instruction than previously.


They reported spending more time revising curriculum and instructional practices and increasing their emphasis on assessment of learning in art. 57% of subjects reported that assessment of learning in their art programs had been affected by NCLB.

• Of those 50% reported increasing emphasis on assessment in their art programs.

• 43% reported using more types of assessments.

• 33% reported conducting more assessments.

• 51% negatively reported that they spent more time grading, creating, or explaining assessments to their students, or managing assessment data.

The 3,412 respondents to the survey of visual arts educators were from elementary schools (34%), middle schools (22%), high schools (32%), higher education (7%), supervision and administration (3%) and museum education (2%). Respondents reflected a highly qualified teaching force with 76% of respondents holding graduate degrees and an average of 16.4 years in the profession. Respondents taught in suburban (35%), urban (25%), rural (21%), and town (19%) settings.

NCLB has caused the American public to focus its attention on the purposes of education in the United States and its expectations for the education systems in the nation. As the era of NCLB comes to a close with the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the continued inclusion of the arts as one of the core subjects is more important than ever to have in the legislation as the nation moves forward on a renewed agenda for improving America’s schools. While the arts have been included among the core subjects in this important legislation, they have yet to realize parity in the curriculum with other core subjects. It is hoped that the next reauthorization will not only affirm the importance of the arts as a core subject, but will find ways to support the allocation of federal, state, and local resources to fully realize this important vision for all students.
Source: National Art Education Website accessed March 25, 2010 from:

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