School-Level Arts Advocacy

In "Arts Education Advocacy: The Relative Effects of School-Level Influences on Resources for Arts Education," Peter Miksza draws on data from the 2009-2010 National Center for Education Statistics to determine the conditions in schools that affect arts education. Adequate funding and specialized arts teachers are essential for quality arts education, and Miksza focuses on what factors help predict these resources.

Miksza's data support the commonly held belief that school arts programs are more successful when they have broad community support, but he points to the importance of support by the school's top administration, as well. Administrators are most supportive and aware of the need for art program resources when they attend arts events. School art programs are also strongest when arts specialists "have a voice at the table" as advocates.

Successful arts education programs also rely on student interest. Such interest is directly related to the quality of arts programs and to the centrality of the arts in the school curriculum and culture. Schools that include grades for art classes as part of a student's overall GPA are more successful in their efforts to implement quality arts programs with increased resources and student interest in the arts.

An additional aspect of the study was to determine whether socioeconomic variables affect the relationship between selected school influences and resources for arts education. There were no significant effects when variables such as student minority status and poverty level were included in the data. However, the data did suggest that administrators from urban areas were more likely to report inadequacies in resources. Miksza stresses how his research and other exploratory research can provide vital information and aid for researchers and policy stakeholders interested in assisting disadvantaged schools and "exploring mechanisms for and influences on effective arts education advocacy" (32). Overall, Miksza found that, regardless of the school's environment, having broad community support, involving arts specialists directly in policy, and generating strong student interest in the arts are all required for successful arts education advocacy.

Miksza, Peter. 2013. "Arts Education Advocacy: The Relative Effects of School-Level Influences on Resources for Arts Education." Arts Education Policy Review 114(1): 25-32. doi:10.1080/10632913.2013.744245.