Under the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLBA), districts and schools must demonstrate adequate yearly progress (AYP) for all students. Because schools may spend more time improving students' academic skills to meet NCLBA's requirements, some are concerned that arts education might be cut back. To determine how, if at all, student access to arts education has changed since NCLBA, the Congress asked: (1) has the amount of instruction time for arts education changed and, if so, have certain groups been more affected than others, (2) to what extent have state education agencies' requirements and funding for arts education changed since NCLBA, (3) what are school officials in selected districts doing to provide arts education since NCLBA and what challenges do they face in doing so, and (4) what is known about the effect of arts education in improving student outcomes? GAO analyzed data from the U.S. Department of Education (Education), surveyed 50 state arts officials, interviewed officials in 8 school districts and 19 schools, and reviewed existing research.
Recommendations for Executive Action
|Department of Education||1. To help identify factors that may contribute to changes in access to arts education for certain student subgroups, the Secretary of Education should require that the department's planned study of NCLBA implementation include questions in its surveys asking survey respondents to describe the reasons for any changes in instruction time they report. Once the information has been collected and analyzed, Education could disseminate it to school districts and schools to help them identify and develop strategies to address any disparities in access.|