AEP Blogs


Supporting Governors’ Top Education Priorities Through the Arts
Workforce development, teaching quality and early learning are some of the key issues that governors identified in their 2019 State of the State addresses, and the arts in education can play a beneficial role in advancing work in these areas. (read more)

Your Guide to Navigating Opportunities for the Arts Under ESSA
Is your state focused on building student literacy across districts? The Every Student Succeeds Act provides funds to integrate the arts into literacy instruction. Is your district’s 21st Century Community Learning Center seeking to enrich educational opportunities for students with after-school programs? ESSA provides funds for programs that include music and arts activities. (More)

The Arts and CTE: Building Tomorrow’s Creative Workforce Today (February 2019)
Visit any state education committee meeting or congressional town hall these days and you may hear a discussion about how policymakers are approaching the issue of educating today’s students for tomorrow’s workforce. In part buoyed by the Perkins reauthorization, state policymakers are examining their role and expanded flexibility in creating a seamless workforce development system that meets the need of both employees and employers. (read more)

Exploring the Landscape of Arts Education and School Choice (January 2019)
The Arts Education Partnership recently embarked on new work exploring the intersection of arts education and school choice, and what better time than National School Choice Week to provide an update on this work? Over the last several months, AEP has researched four key questions concerning the intersection of these areas. (read more)


10 Years Later … 10 Lessons Learned From an AEP Partner (December 2018)
This guest post comes from Cheri Walsh, executive director of Exploring the Arts (ETA).

Research shows that students in schools with arts-rich learning environments academically outperform their peers in arts-poor schools. Of course, the arts do more than nurture key competencies and transferable skills; they also teach craft and impart essential, cultural knowledge. (read more)

School Choice and STEM: What Does Arts Education Have to Do With Them? (October 2018)
Every year, the Arts Education Partnership evaluates its current scope of work to ensure its focus remains timely and topical. This year, AEP has been fortunate enough to secure increased federal support from the National Endowment for the Arts and the U.S. Department of Education to pursue two new focus areas: school choice and STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics).  (read more)

Making Leaps and Bounds in Dance Teacher Certification (October 2018)
This guest post comes from Susan McGreevy-Nichols, executive director, and Shannon Dooling-Cain, special projects coordinator, at the National Dance Education Organization.

Dance — when taught by a qualified dance educator and integrated into the K-12 curriculum — keeps students engaged in school, enhances academic learning, instills 21st century skills and improves overall school culture. However, dance is not included as a universal discipline in K-12, in part because there is no national teaching examination that serves as an entry point for certification and subject-matter competency. (read more)

Investing in Children Through the Arts (September 2018)
This guest post comes from Akua Kouyate-Tate, vice president of education at the Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts, and Jamie Moon, president at the Institute for Child Success.

When the National Association of Colleges and Employers asked employers what skills they prioritize when recruiting, they unequivocally listed ability to work well on teams, decisive problem solving and effective communication. Social-emotional learning provides the foundation for teamwork, resilience and other skills that are integral to success in school and in life, and helps shape the workforce of tomorrow. (read more)

Collaboration Is Key to (Celebrating) Arts Education (September 2018)
This guest post comes from Jeff Poulin, arts education program manager at Americans for the Arts.

As most students and educators around the nation return to school, supporters of the arts in education also gather together to celebrate the transformative power of the field. From Sept. 9-15, states and communities across the country will participate in National Arts in Education Week ― passed by Congress in 2010 ― and share how the arts in education impacts student success in school and beyond. (read more)

ArtsEdSearch: The Search Is Over … or Maybe It Is Just Beginning (August 2018)
Help! I need information — and fast — about the impact of arts-focused professional learning opportunities for teachers. I want to learn more about how engagement in the arts throughout a child’s academic career impacts their success, but I don’t know where to start. (read more)

Why Technology Cannot Replace In-Person Art Experiences (July 2018)
This guest post comes from Jay P. Greene, Distinguished Professor of Education Policy at the University of Arkansas, where he directs a National Endowment for the Arts Research Lab. He’ll be sharing more about his work during a concurrent session, titled “Learning From Two National Endowment for the Arts Research Labs,” at the 2018 AEP Annual Convening.

In the 1981 French film, Diva, an opera singer refuses to be recorded because she believes that only live performance properly conveys her art, but was she really such a diva for insisting that live performance cannot be replaced technologically? (read more)

How School Leaders Can Inspire Daily Creativity (July 2018)
The buzz of an alarm signifying a new day, the smell of freshly brewed coffee, the turning of a key in a car ignition, the wheels of a bike moving in smooth repetition, and music and stories filling our ears as we make our daily commutes. Innovative ideas, methods and practices shape and inspire the world in which we live. (read more)

Supporting Students With Disabilities by Preparing Arts Teachers (June 2018)
This guest post comes from Jenna Gabriel, manager of special education at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

While the most recent federal data on inclusion show most students with disabilities spend the majority of their time in general education settings, the same data show that students with significant learning needs — those with autism, intellectual disability or multiple disabilities — are included substantially less. Historical evidence supports the claim that for many students, the arts classroom is the first site for instruction alongside typically developing peers. (read more)

35,000 Years and Counting: Music Continues to Matter (May 2018)
Creating and engaging with art has been a fundamental part of human existence for thousands of years. Archaeologists discovered musical instruments dating back more than 35,000 years, and music is linked to the origins of human language. Today, music surrounds us, from the background of our favorite television shows and movies to the $15 billion global recording industry. (read more)

Supporting Student Agency, Engagement and Success Through Inclusive Folk Arts Pedagogy (April 2018)
This is guest post comes from Lisa Rathje, executive director of Local Learning: The National Network for Folk Arts in Education.

As a folklorist, I know that narratives based in racism, sexism and other ideologies of power and control act insidiously (and often invisibly) in our schools and communities to create fear and division. In an effort to create safe spaces in classrooms across the country for learners from all walks of life, inclusive folk arts pedagogy can facilitate greater understanding between students and educators of many cultural backgrounds. (read more)

It’s March Madness … in the Arts in Education! (February 2018)
Throughout March, in addition to brackets and basketballs, the Arts Education Partnership and AEP partner organizations will celebrate the arts in a big way and you are invited! AEP is pleased to participate in the upcoming opportunities that keep the momentum of the implementation of the 2020 Action Agenda for Advancing the Arts in Education going. (read more)

Supporting Growing Music Programs in Public Schools (January 2018)
This is a guest blog post from Jaclyn Rudderow, Program Director, VH1 Save The Music Foundation.

Starting a new music program is quite an undertaking, especially for a school principal who does not have a music or arts education background. These principals need a wealth of support and guidance to ensure they are taking the right steps. This is VH1 Save The Music’s starting point in most of our grantee schools. (read more)

How Does Arts Education Fare in the Final Round of State ESSA Plan Submissions? (January 2018)
This is a guest blog post from Lynn Tuttle, Director of Public Policy and Professional Development, National Association for Music Education.

In the first round of state plans submitted under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) last spring, 60 percent (eight states) included arts within key areas of their state accountability systems. In the second set of state plans, arts education continues to be found, although in a larger variety of places and spaces. (read more)


Developing a Theory of Action for K-12 Arts Education and SEL Outcomes (December 2017)
This is a guest blog post from Steve Shewfelt, Director of Data and Research, Ingenuity, and Jenny Nagaoka, Director of the UChicago Consortium on School Research. 

What role do arts education programs play in children’s social and emotional learning (SEL) and development? This is not a new question; social and emotional competencies have increasingly been acknowledged as an essential component of a well-rounded education with important implications for lifelong success. (read more)

Linking Learning and the Arts in ArtsConnection’s DELLTA Program (November 2017)
This is a guest blog by Carol Morgan, Deputy Director for Education, ArtsConnection.

What is the nature of teaching and learning in dance and theater; and, in what ways do they influence second language acquisition? At first glance, these two things might seem to have nothing to do with each other, but they do. (read more)

Why Do We Celebrate During National Arts in Education Week? (September 2017)
This is a guest blog post by Jeff Poulin, Arts Education Program Manager, Americans for the Arts.

We all know that arts education is good, right?  The vast majority of Americans (90 percent) believe that the arts should be a part of a well-rounded education for K-12 students. Decision makers in the U.S. Department of Education, in every state, from both sides of the aisle – and even from other sectors, such as business and science – agree.  (read more)

The Importance of Arts Education in Workforce Preparation (September 2017)
America’s future economic growth depends on the strength of our world-class education system. The Arts Education Partnership (AEP), a center within Education Commission of the States, recognizes arts education as a key to ensuring students’ success not only in school, but also in the workplace and beyond. (read more)

Student Voice: Why the arts are important in education (September 2017)
This is a guest blog from Abby Huston, 2017 Young Artist Award winner.

I wasn’t always the best at math and science. I tried hard, but they just weren’t my thing. Still aren’t. For a long time, I thought that meant I wasn’t smart. That’s what school seemed to teach: smart people were good at math and science. It wasn’t until I discovered art – music and drawing – that I finally found something at which I could excel. (read more)

Celebrating the 250th Addition to ArtsEdSearch
(August 2017)
Education Commission of the States believes that informed policymakers are the best decision makers – by having the background, research, analysis and insights needed to make effective education policy, leaders across the country can take important steps to improve education outcomes for all students. Five years ago, the Arts Education Partnership (AEP) established the ArtsEdSearch website, providing critical research to support policymakers in their decisions to expand access to high-quality arts education in their states and communities. (read more)

Sowing the Seeds of Social Change: Arts education as a source of hope, healing and agency (August 2017)
This is a guest blog post by Jonathan Herman, Executive Director, National Guild for Community Arts Education.

Since 1937, the National Guild for Community Arts Education (a partner organization of the Arts Education Partnership) has been committed to ensuring that all Americans realize their creative potential, with quality arts education available to all. Our member organizations – community schools of the arts, arts and cultural centers, preparatory programs, arts education divisions and more – play a critical role in providing creative learning opportunities to communities across the country. (read more)

The Arts and Education Equity (June 2017)
This is a guest blog post by Laura Smyth, Program Director, Title I Initiative, California Alliance for Arts Education.

The California Alliance for Arts Education is in its fifth decade of making the arts a core part of every child’s education across the state, by providing policy expertise and mobilizing a statewide network of advocates and allied partners. We’ve spent the last six years working on our Title I Initiative, and building and sharing resources to help schools understand how the arts can play a powerful role in achieving success for vulnerable students. (read more)

Student Achievement Through the Arts in Education (June 2017)
This is a guest blog post by Dalouge Smith, President & CEO – San Diego Youth Symphony and Conservatory and Francisco Escobedo, Ed.D., Superintendent – Chula Vista Elementary School District. 

Education has transformed over the past several years, motivated by the understanding that today’s students must be prepared to succeed in jobs that don’t yet even exist in our 21st century economy. Educators, policymakers, elected officials and philanthropists increasingly recognize that academic achievement is driven by much more than test preparation. (read more)

How Does Arts Education Fare in the First Round of State ESSA Plans? (May 2017)
This is a guest blog post by Lynn Tuttle, Director of Public Policy & Professional Development, National Association for Music Education.

The National Association for Music Education’s mission is to advance music education by promoting the understanding and making of music by all. We are a partner organization of the Arts Education Partnership (AEP), sharing the belief that all students benefit from the arts as part of a well-rounded education. The passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) has presented new opportunities for the arts and we have anxiously awaited to see how states would implement the new law. (read more)

Digital Transformation (April 2017)
This is a guest blog post by David A. Dik, National Executive Director, Young Audiences Arts for Learning

As an AEP Partner Organization, Young Audiences Arts for Learning carries the commitment to inspire young people and expand their learning through the arts. Established in 1952, Young Audiences Arts for Learning serves more than 5 million children and youth each year in 8,984 schools and community centers across the country through its diverse network of 30 local affiliates. (read more)

AEP State Policy Symposium Connects the Arts and State Policy (March 2017)
To build on the Arts Education Partnership’s (AEP) work of aiding states in including the arts as they craft plans for the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), AEP, along with its collaborators Americans for the Arts and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, convened approximately 140 arts in education leaders last Saturday for the 2017 AEP State Policy Symposium. (read more)

ESSA Stakeholder Engagement: Opportunities for the arts abound (January 2017)
As states around the country continue the process of implementing the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), a priority of the Arts Education Partnership (AEP) is to ensure that the arts and education communities have the resources necessary to engage in the many opportunities ESSA opens up for expanding arts education for all students. (read more)


Elevating the Meaningful Work of AEP Partner Organizations (December 2016)
As part of its mission, AEP is committed to elevating the meaningful work of its 100+ partner organizations. AEP serves to communicate the power of arts in education, collaborate on new research and policy solutions, convene national experts and thought leaders and connect its partners and the field to useful and timely information to build support for arts as part of a well-rounded education. (read more)

New Resources Available: Mapping opportunities for the arts in ESSA (October 2016)
By now the education community is well aware of the passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). From the moment that ESSA was signed into law, folks across the education community – from classroom teachers to policymakers – have been clamoring with questions. (read more)

Promising Practices in Arts Education
(July 2016)
The Arts Education Partnership (AEP)continues to showcase the promising practices of partner organizations and other practitioners across the country. This is a priority not only because partner organizations are doing incredible work but also because there is great strength in learning from the experiences and programs of others. (read more)

The Arts Education Partnership, ESSA and a Well-Rounded Education (April 2016)
AEP serves as the junction point among the arts and education communities as well as the local, state and federal policy communities. As a new center within Education Commission of the States, AEP will expand upon this role and provide our partners and other stakeholders with the knowledge, tools and resources they need to move the needle on our collective goals for the arts in education. (read more)

Arts Education Policy: A look at the year ahead (March 2016)
Beginning in January 2016, Education Commission of the States assumed the role as the cooperator for AEP and is now working directly with the National Endowment for the Arts and the U.S. Department of Education as well as all AEP partner organizations and the AEP Advisory Committee. The education policy world has changed dramatically with the passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and the next year of implementation will include dramatic changes as the federal and state roles are challenged on many levels.  (read more)


The Arts Education Partnership: Helping to Realize the Potential of the Arts for Every Child (October 2011)
This brief appeared on the Department of Education’s website as a featured blog. AEP explains how the partnership is helping to harness the potential of every child to be creative individuals. (read more)

The Arts Education Partnership: Helping to Realize the Potential of the Arts for Every Child (October 2011)
This brief appeared on the Department of Education’s website as a featured blog. AEP Sr. Associate for Communications and Partnerships, Laura Johnson explains how AEP is helping to harness the potential of every child to be creative individuals. (read more)

Arts Education Blog Forum on Research (August 2011)
AEP answers the question: How does the report from the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities, Reinvesting in Arts Education, help to inform the public debate on arts education? (read more)


Creativity, Innovation and Arts Learning: Preparing All Students for Success in a Global Economy (February 2010)
Creativity and innovation are on everyone’s minds these days. Read the latest from AEP on some key questions and concrete solutions for how creativity can be resourced and channeled for student and economic success. (read more)


The Arts Education Effect: Why Schools with Arts Programs do Better at Narrowing Achievement Gaps (September 2009)
Originally published online at Education Week, The Arts Education Effect examines America’s dropout crisis and the arts’ role in closing the achievement gap. (read more)0