Talking Points for Arts Education
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
- 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
- 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,
- 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
- 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.