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National PTA Applauds NCES report on Status of Arts Education in Our Schools

Media Contact

James Martinez, Sr. Manager of Media & Public Relations

ALEXANDRIA, VA. (April 5, 2012)—The following statement can be attributed to National PTA® President Betsy Landers:

National PTA® has long championed arts in education. The need for quality arts education was seen more than 40 years ago when the National PTA Reflection‘s® program was founded to provide opportunities for students to express themselves and to receive positive recognition for their artistic efforts. Studies clearly show that when arts education is in place and children have a chance to express themselves artistically, they show marked improvement in SAT scores, reading and math scores, attendance, and overall graduation rates. Despite this solid evidence arts programs are often the first to be eliminated or cut from schools struggling with budget constraints.

National PTA applauds the U.S. Department of Education for producing the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) report on the status of arts education in public elementary and secondary schools, and for its ongoing commitment to arts education. PTA is committed to promoting arts education and providing an effective solution for arts education in classrooms that lack this important instruction. Released on April 2, the report, “Arts Education in Public Elementary and Secondary Schools: 1999-2000 and 2009-10,” outlines the state of arts education in the U.S., showing that arts instruction has not seen an increase since 1999-2000 and precipitous drops were seen in elementary instruction in both drama and dance. Furthermore, an “equity gap” exists between the availability (and quality) of arts instruction in high-poverty schools compared to low-poverty schools. Sadly, at-risk student populations, those who most need and could most benefit from access to quality arts education, are the populations with the least access to arts education.

National PTA believes that all children need and benefit from a quality arts education. The National PTA Reflections® program is the nation’s largest and longest running arts program serving students in preschool through Grade 12. Annually, the program provides free opportunities for hundreds of thousands of children across the nation and in overseas schools serving military families to participate in and be recognized for their achievements in arts categories including Dance Choreography, Film Production, Literature, Music Composition, Photography, and Visual Arts. National PTA also supports its local units with grants to start or maintain arts education programs. Grants are specifically intended to support programs serving at-risk student populations.

About National PTA

National PTA® comprises millions of families, students, teachers, administrators, and business and community leaders devoted to the educational success of children and the promotion of parent involvement in schools. PTA is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit association that prides itself on being a powerful voice for all children, a relevant resource for families and communities, and a strong advocate for public education. Membership in PTA is open to anyone who wants to be involved and make a difference for the education, health, and welfare of children and youth.

About the Reflections Program

In its more than 40-year history, the Reflections Program has encouraged millions of students across the nation and in American schools overseas to explore their artistic talents. PTA believes that all children deserve a quality arts education and encourages students to pursue artistic expression through participation in its annual Reflections Program. The program offers students the opportunity to create works of art for fun and recognition. Students in preschool through grade 12 are encouraged to submit works of art in six arts areas: dance choreography, film production, literature, musical composition, photography, and the visual arts (which include art forms such as drawing, painting, printmaking, and collage). For more information about the National PTA Reflections® program, please visit