Advocacy + Policy

NAEA Position Statement on Graduation Requirements in the Visual Arts

[Adopted March 2011; Reviewed and Revised April 2014; Reviewed and Revised March 2019]

Study and practice in the visual arts facilitate the growth of a broad range of important skills in general education, including critical thinking, problem solving, communication, collaboration, creativity and innovation. The importance of the visual culture to contemporary life makes it imperative that education includes learning to make meaning of multi-faceted visual information and experiences.

NAEA supports the formal adoption of high school graduation requirements in visual arts as part of a comprehensive high school education. The visual arts contribute to a well-rounded education for all students because:

  • The visual arts broaden the range of learning options for meeting the individual needs of diverse student populations.
  • Learning in the visual arts builds universal communication skills that bridge historic, geographic and cultural boundaries.
  • Adolescent learners draw upon visual literacy skills to comprehend and articulate their world view as they move into adulthood including post-secondary education and careers.
  • Students enrolled in visual arts courses should actively create, present, respond, and connect to a wide variety of visual works of art.

High school graduation requirements are predicated on all elementary and middle school students having access to a comprehensive, sequential visual art education program taught by effective educators who are certified/licensed in visual art.

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