The Arts are Academic!

Mississippi’s Arts Advocacy Facts:

  • The arts (dance, music, theatre, visual art, media arts) are
    required to be taught in grades K-8 in Mississippi.
    Currently, it is not a requirement that certified arts
    teachers teach arts disciplines in grades K-8. This is an
    advocacy opportunity.
  • At the secondary level, state law does not specify
    what arts disciplines are to be taught. State policy
    requires that all students obtain 1 Carnegie Unit in the
    arts for graduation.
  • Where certified teachers are teaching the arts in K-6,
    funding for full or part time teacher positions comes from
    local tax revenues, and the decision to offer the arts is
    made by the local school board. This is why there are
    inconsistencies in arts offerings across school districts
    in the state.
  • Local school districts have some discretion about how
    to use both state and federal funds. For example, a
    district may choose to use its state or federal funds to
    hire a music teacher instead of a hiring a counselor or a
    librarian at the K-6 level. Federal Title funds may also
    be used to hire arts teachers.
  • At the high school level, the local district decides
    which arts disciplines to offer and in how many courses
    students may enroll. Parents can and do
    influence local education decisions.

Advocating in word and deed:

  • Advocate for arts education every day by planning for
    and maintaining high-quality learning experiences that
    include the arts for all students in your classroom.
  • Utilize excellent and appropriate visual and
    performing arts examples and repertoire that illustrate
    the value and benefits of the arts when planning for
    classroom instruction.
  • Communicate the benefits of arts education in daily
    instruction and in school and/or public performances. This
    includes promoting career opportunities in the arts and
    arts education for students at all grade levels.
  • Communicate the value of the arts and arts education
    to parents and citizens in the local community or beyond.
  • Stop referring to arts classes as “activities” or
    “specials.” The arts are academic, with rich content that
    has stood the test of time. The arts are fully
    incorporated into federal education legislation and
    Mississippi’s Curriculum Frameworks, and are named as core
    subjects alongside science, language arts, mathematics,
    and others.
  • Work in partnership with arts education colleagues in
    your school and in the school district to promote student
    benefits acquired through learning in the arts.
  • Seek professional development opportunities that
    advance arts education training. Educate school
    administrators about your professional development needs.
    Don’t simply accept whatever staff development the
    district offers.
  • Work with other arts teachers and school
    administrators in the school district to plan professional
    development experiences that include the arts, and offer
    discipline specific training for arts teachers.
  • Support the work of the Mississippi Alliance for Arts
    Education (MAAE). This statewide organization advocates
    for high-quality, sequential arts education for all
    students K-12. The MAAE works in partnership with the
    Mississippi Department of Education to impact education
    policy and practice, and with the Mississippi Arts
    Commission to implement sequential arts education in
    schools and communities statewide. The MAAE is a member of
    the Kennedy Center Alliance for Arts Education Network.