Speak Up for the Arts

Helping parents become advocates for arts education


How can you get the parents in your school community involved and active in your school’s arts programs? Start by sharing with them the information you want them to share with others in your school building, district, or community. Parents are the first to care about the quality of their child’s education. Students need access to the best educational experiences and to have qualified teachers in the classroom.

Advocacy is simply sharing a moving arts education story with a decision maker that will have a strong impact. This is not difficult work, but it does take some time to develop relationships with decision makers. Here are some steps to help you develop parents into arts advocates.

Facts for Your Parents

The arts play a critical role in quality education. Research shows that arts education:

  • fosters creativity and innovative thinking.
  • helps students communicate a variety of messages.
  • improves student achievement in other disciplines.
  • advances problem-solving and cognitive skills.
  • enhances cultural understanding.
  • increases attendance and graduation rates.
Easy First Action Steps for Parents

Encourage parents to start with advocacy they are comfortable with. Have parents think about why the arts are important to their own child.

  • Share their support of arts education with family and friends.
  • Keep on top of the latest arts education research, policies, or practices.
  • Send copies of arts education articles to district administrators and legislators.
  • Recruit others to advocate for the arts.

Next Steps for More Experienced Advocates

Parents who are passionate about their children’s arts education will be your front line to administrators and legislators. Share with them information about state arts advocacy or arts education organizations. See if you can advance your parents down the advocacy continuum.

  • Meet with school board members and legislators to talk about the importance of the arts in education.
  • Write letters and articles for the local newspaper about arts education.
  • Join an advocacy network for the arts and respond to action alerts.
  • Develop relationships with school administrators and legislators.

An impassioned parent can be the difference between a well funded arts department, and a teacher scrounging for supplies. They are one of your strongest tools in this fight. Make sure to help them wherever you can, and let their advocacy build your department! 



Lauren Hess
Original Writer


Sources: Speak Up for the Arts (OAAE & CET)

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Use this collection of resources and articles to devise an approach for supporting individual needs in the classroom: from English Language Learners or students with disabilities, to conflict resolution and giving feedback.



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