New Guidelines For Illinois Arts Education In The Works

Oct 26, 2015

Teachers and administrators are working on new guidelines for art education in Illinois. Some schools have no art programs, while others have limited time to teach it.

Credit Flickr user Celeste Lindell / "Art supplies" (CC BY 2.0)

New federal standards were released last year, though they came with no mandate. The State Board of Education has been organizing meetings for teachers to make the guidelines fit for them.

Jonathan VanderBrug is with Arts Alliance Illinois, an advocacy group that is also helping plan meetings. He says the process is meant to show schools why education in the arts is important.

"The arts learning standards have not been updated since the mid-90s, so they are due for an update," VanderBrug said.

The federal recommendation separates the arts into music, theater, dance, visual art and media arts. VanderBrug says, ideally, all kids in Illinois should get a chance to try out these mediums.

"It's essential to a complete and competitive education and these standards are a way to convey that," VanderBrug said.

It will be up to local school districts to decide how to implement the new standards once they are approved next year.