Woodworth, K. R., Gallagher, H. A., Guha, R., Campbell, A. Z., Lopez-Torkos, A. M., and Kim, D. An unfinished canvas. Arts education in California: Taking stock of policies and practices. Menlo Park, CA: SRI International.
California policy-makers clearly have ambitious goals for arts education. However, beyond developing rigorous standards and calling for instruction in the arts as part of the required course of study, California historically has done little to develop, implement, and sustain comprehensive arts programs that provide all students with access to and opportunities in the arts. Moreover, until now, the state has lacked comprehensive, reliable information to indicate whether it is meeting its goals for arts instruction. This study has sought to fill that information gap by taking stock of arts education policies and practices: understanding where schools’ arts programs are relative to state goals, assessing the strengths and weaknesses of the systemic support for these programs, and identifying ways in which state and local policy-makers might improve conditions for arts education. The study also provides a baseline for examining the effects on student access to arts instruction of the new state funds that have been made available.