Among the major barriers to arts education in California that An Unfinished Canvas identified is the lack of trained and qualified arts specialist teachers, particularly at the elementary school level. In the absence of dedicated arts teachers at that level, arts instruction is often left to classroom teachers who rarely have adequate training and support to provide standards-based instruction in all four arts disciplines. The study also found that few classroom teachers receive professional development in the arts. At the secondary level, the study found that schools and districts seldom provide sustained, content-based professional development for arts teachers. Moreover, questions emerged regarding secondary arts teachers’ preservice training, particularly in dance and theatre, and their use of California’s Visual and Performing Arts Content Standards (VPA standards).
An Unfinished Canvas: Teacher Preparation, Instructional Delivery, and Professional Development in the Arts
This study investigated California’s system for training and preparing elementary classroom teachers and secondary arts teachers to provide standards-aligned arts instruction, their familiarity with and use of the state’s visual and performing arts standards, their ongoing professional development, the supports and resources available to them, and the barriers to their delivery of standards-aligned arts instruction. Despite rigorous standards and enhanced teacher preparation requirements to improve arts instruction in California’s public schools, the study found that these policies have not resulted in a renaissance of arts instruction at the local level, particularly in elementary schools. The barriers to providing quality arts instruction appear early in the teacher development process.
An Unfinished Canvas: Arts Education in California: Taking Stock of Policies and Practices – Summary Report
Across California, arts education falls short of the ideal envisioned by state policy-makers and described in the state’s arts standards and framework. Most California schools do not offer sequential courses of study in the arts. Those that do tend to deliver instruction in ways that limit the duration and frequency (at the elementary level) or limit the number of students who participate (at the secondary level). Schools frequently lack the teachers and facilities they need for high-quality arts instruction. And in many cases, arts instruction is not aligned with standards and is not assessed properly.
Introduction This report complements An unfinished canvas. Arts education in California: Taking stock of policy and practices (Woodworth et al., 2007). The research supporting An Unfinished Canvas was undertaken to document the status of arts education in California schools and assess the extent to which schools were meeting state goals for arts education—namely a sequential, […]