The Status of Arts Standards Revision in the United States Since 2014

A publication of the National Coalition for Core Arts Standards

Introduction: What is the status of arts standards in 2017?

Since the June, 2014 release of the National Core Arts Standards, 15 states and the Department of Defense have adopted revised arts standards. An additional state, New Hampshire, has updated Arts Competencies for its schools. Currently, 19 states are in the process of revising their state arts standards. Some states have adopted the voluntary national standards as their own, the most recent being Rhode Island in January. Other states reviewed or made changes to their standards employing the National Core Arts Standards as one of their revision sources.

Adoption of new standards at the state level does not happen quickly: state standards writing and revision involves a broad range of public input including outreach to educators, administrators, legislatures, parents, and students. For example, Illinois, a state which adopted revised arts standards in 2016 using the National Core Arts Standards as a foundation, reached out to numerous state arts educators and stakeholders to create their revised set of standards. NCCAS fully supports the adaptation of the National Core Arts Standards to help states meet their education needs. (To learn more about the states standards adoption process, visit NAfME’s State Standards Adoption Toolkit.)

In many ways, the standards revision process can serve as an intersecting point of dialogue and communication as communities reflect on what it means to have access to a high quality education in the arts and why it is important. The creation of the National Core Arts Standards themselves prompted deep and meaningful conversations among the member organizations that created them and the more than 130 arts educators and 6000 reviewers who participated in their creation. In turn, the publication of these voluntary national core arts standards can prompt a rich dialogue between students, educators, administrators, policy makers, parents and community members about access and advocacy for the arts to ensure artistic literacy for all.