Vermont Arts Council

Arts to the Core: A Call to Action

In 2014, the Council, with support from the Vermont College of Fine Arts, the Office of the Creative Economy, and the Vermont Agency of Education (AOE), held a visioning session on the future of arts education in Vermont. The participants—120 leaders in the arts, education, nonprofit organizations, government, and business communities—identified a series of priorities and strategies to ensure that Vermont students have the opportunity to develop creative abilities and critical thinking skills.

One of the six recommendations made based on state research and findings was that the Council partner with the AOE to advocate for adoption of the National Core Arts Standards (NCAS). The NCAS are learning standards that support educators in providing a high quality arts education for students in Pre-K through high school in the disciplines of dance, media arts, music, theatre and visual arts.

Further conversations around the state in 2015 through the Vermont Creative Network confirmed the need to replace the existing Fine Arts Grade Expectations with the NCAS based on the need for:

kids in library having fun with yarn

  • media arts standards
  • moving away from treating the arts as electives rather than  core subjects
  • better connecting and integrating the arts with other content areas
  • recognition of STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, mathematics) rather than STEM
  • high quality professional development for arts educators
  • richer learning opportunities for students

Now at Stake

After two years of partnering with the AOE on arts education initiatives, the State Board of Education (SBE) will consider a joint proposal between the Council and AOE to adopt the NCAS on February 16, 2016.

You Can Help

Here are five ways:

1) Learn more about NCAS through toolkits put together by the AOE and Council.

2) Share these resources with your colleagues.

3) Participate in the informational NCAS webinar on January 7, 2016 from 3-4 PM.

4) Respond to this short, anonymous survey by January 20.

5) Share your thoughts on passage with the Agency of Education and the State Board of Education before February 16. The AOE and SBE need to hear from the arts education field as part of this work.