Summer standards

Now that the classroom door is closed and the stage has gone dark for a few months, you finally have the time to read that guilty pleasure thriller, catch up on your Game of Thrones episodes, or maybe take a real vacation to the beach, mountains, or the Grand Canyon with the kids. But wait—there is meaningful theatre and other arts education homework to be done, and you can do it from a chair on your deck or at the kitchen table on your laptop. I’m talking about the first public review of the PreK through 8th-grade draft standards of the new national core arts standards.

The National Coalition for Core Arts Standards (NCCAS), a collaboration of eight national arts and education organizations, began working on a plan to revise the 1994 National Standards for Arts Education in the spring of 2011. Writing teams in dance, media arts, music, theatre, and visual arts have been working on the new, more robust standards since February, 2012. The theatre team is being jointly managed by the Educational Theatre Association and the American Alliance for Theatre in Education.  A “friends and family” limited review of the all the 8th-grade standards was completed in April and teams have been reviewing the feedback, while also working to complete the other PreK-7th-grade standards.  A second, limited review of the high school standards will be launched in late September, followed by a full public review of the complete draft standards. The final web-based standards documents are scheduled for release in the spring of 2014.   

The review period of the grade-by-grade PreK-8 draft begins June 30 and runs through July 15. Anyone with an interest is welcome to participate, but if you’re an arts educator or a decision-maker who helps shape or schedule arts curricula in schools, your input on these drafts are critical. With the rise of the Common Core standards in math and English, rigorous arts standards can help affirm their place as a core subject area and ensure that students receive quality instruction in all the arts as part of their well-rounded education.  As an end user of the new standards—that is, as someone who needs benchmarks that articulate what excellence  or proficiency looks like, whether in a moment of theatre, dance, or music—these are your standards to critique.   

Summer might not seem to be best time to engage in such important work, but we all know that once school resumes, it’s even more of a challenge. So consider putting your feet up and your brain to work on the world of arts standards. To find out how to get started, go the coalition’s website or the NCCAS Facebook page.

See you at the beach—after you’ve done your standards review homework!

All Comments

Brilliant!... Pay attention people. He knows what he is talking about... Happy review!!
This is such valuable work! We will share with our membership and encourage participation. Thank you for your collective efforts.
Kristy Callaway
Executive Director
Arts Schools Network

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