Arts education in U.S. public schools


This report presents selected findings from seven congressionally mandated arts in education surveys. These surveys were designed to provide national estimates of the characteristics of arts education in public K-12 schools for the 2009-10 school year and to allow comparison to selected estimates from an earlier study done in 1999-2000. This report provides national data about arts education for public elementary and secondary schools, elementary classroom teachers, and elementary and secondary music and visual arts specialists.

• In the 2009–10 school year, music education was almost universally available in the nation’s public elementary schools, with 94 percent of schools offering instruction that was designated specifically for music. Visual arts instruction was available in most elementary schools (83 percent).

• Dance and drama/theatre were less commonly taught in elementary schools; 3 percent of elementary schools offered dance instruction and 4 percent offered drama/theatre instruction in 2009–10. Both of these percentages represent a decrease from 20 percent in 1999–2000.

• Most public secondary schools (91 percent) offered instruction in music in the 2008–09 school year. Most public secondary schools (89 percent) also offered visual arts instruction.

• Dance was offered in 12 percent of the schools and drama/theatre was offered in 45 percent of public secondary schools in 2008–09.

Additional Supplemental Table: Number and percent of students in public elementary and secondary schools without instruction designated specifically for music, visual arts, dance or drama/theatre, by school poverty level: school years 2008-09 and 2009-10

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