It’s important to be involved in your child’s education and what better way than to find out what kind of arts education is offered in your school. Ask questions – ask a lot of questions and depending on the answers you hear, you may need to develop your arts advocacy skills.
1. Talk with your child’s teachers.
Start by talking with your child’s arts teacher. How frequent are art and music classes? How long are the classes? Does the school offer any dance classes? Is there any dance covered in gym class? Is there a chance to learn about drama? Is there a district curriculum that is followed? Did you know that the arts are considered a core subject, according to the 2001 No Child Left Behind Act? Your school should be providing a quality arts education for all students, taught by qualified arts teachers. The arts are just as important as language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies.
2. Continue the discussion with the school administrators.
Depending on the answers you received from the arts teachers, you may need to make an appointment with the school principal. Does the principal understand the role of the arts in education? Do they provide professional development experiences for the school’s arts teachers? Are they committed to developing relationships with local arts organizations? You may need to help them understand the value of the arts in the development of your child.
3. Be involved in your school’s PTO/PTA.
Develop a network of parents that can help with the arts advocacy work to be done within your school or school district. Encourage attendance at student performances or exhibitions that take place in your child’s school. Invite local legislators to attend these events, as well as local media outlets.
4. Attend your district’s school board meetings.
District decisions will affect what happens at your child’s school. Periodically attend your district’s school board meetings. Speak up and make your thoughts and beliefs known on the importance of arts education. Sometimes it’s effective to have the students from your school perform or speak about why the arts are important to them.
Make your case to local business leaders.
Develop some talking points and talk to the business leaders in your community about why the arts are important for all students. They might take an interest and fund some artist residencies or performances. Remind them that the arts teach students creativity and communication skills that translate to productive workers in the future.
6. Talk to elected officials.
Don’t be intimidated by elected officials. Talk to them just as you have with the school administration or business leaders. They want to hear from their constituents. Share your passion with them about the importance of arts education.