Home » Regional arts organization releases arts education study

Regional arts organization releases arts education study

South Arts covers Kentucky, eight other states

FRANKFORT, Ky. (June 23, 2014) — Data from two studies recently released by South Arts, the regional arts organization representing Kentucky and eight other states, will be used to examine the status of arts education in the South as well as inform the future of arts education in Kentucky and the region.

The reports, “Arts Education in the South Phase I: Public School Data and Principals’ Perspectives” and “Arts Education in the South Phase II: Profiles of Quality,” look at access to and quality of arts education in K-12 public schools in Kentucky and eight other states — Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee — through a set of quantitative and qualitative research.

Arts council logoThe multiyear investigative study includes responses from Kentucky elementary, middle and high school administrators in the phase one report. The phase two report includes profiles of school programs with arts-centric programming and includes a case study of the successful theater program at Owensboro High School.

“Information from this study will help us as we review our arts education programming and determine how we will be better able to assist Kentucky teachers, principals, schools and school districts in the future,” said Lori Meadows, Kentucky Arts Council executive director. “We appreciate the responses from Kentucky principals and look forward to finding new opportunities to enhance arts education for our students.”

The data for responding schools is broken down to show results as an overview of the entire region, as well as by state and by school level. Among the report’s key findings are that, in general, the South as a region offers less access to visual arts and music than the national average: 71 percent of responding schools offer visual arts and 80 percent offer music, compared with national averages exceeding 83 percent and 91 percent, respectively. Access to theater at 22 percent is close to the national average, and dance exceeds the national average with 22 percent in the South compared with less than 10 percent. Results for individual states within the region, however, are highly variable.

Kentucky aggregate data shows schools that responded to the survey provide access to arts classes at a rate that meets or exceeds regional and national averages. Visual art classes are available in 87 percent of Kentucky schools, music in 93 percent and creative writing in 33 percent. However, the study found Kentucky students spend fewer minutes in arts classes than other students in the region.

Information for the Phase I report was gathered through a survey of Kentucky public school principals. Completed surveys were received from 316 schools, a response rate of 27.5 percent of all K-12 public schools in the state.

In addition to reporting on access to arts education, the study has findings related to quality of arts education, arts instructor qualifications, resources and partners and principal perspectives.

The reports were commissioned by South Arts with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts and the nine participating state arts agencies, including the Kentucky Arts Council. The first phase of the research was compiled with data collected from 4,400 principals, 29.3 percent in the region. The second phase of the research includes nine case studies of model programs conducted by the Southeast Center for Education in the Arts in the Arts at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.