It's been more than a decade since the National Assessment of Educational Progress tested 8th graders in what they know and can do in the arts. In that amount of time, the proportion of schools offering the arts at least several times a week has stayed about the same, according to the NAEP arts report released today. In 2008, 57 percent of 8th graders attended schools where music instruction was provided at least three or four times a week, while 47 percent went to schools where visual-arts instruction was offered at least as often. See my story on the report, which was just posted at edweek.org.
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan released a statement this morning saying the report "should challenge all of us to make K-12 arts programs more available to America’s children and youth." He added: "Such programs not only engage students’ creativity and academic commitment today, but they uniquely equip them for future success and fulfillment. We can and should do better for America’s students."
Duncan didn't mention any ways that the federal government is or could be helping schools increase offerings in the arts. NAEP itself, of course, is a federal effort.