New Jersey school board candidates were given the chance to share their views about arts education with voters in their district in a survey conducted by Arts Ed NJ, a nonprofit organization that provides a unified voice for arts education, information, policy and advocacy in New Jersey.
School board candidates received an invitation by mail and several email communications inviting them to participate. They were asked to respond to the following questions.
- Do you have any personal background or meaningful experience in the arts?
- In which arts activities have your children been involved with at school?
- Are you aware Arts Education is required for all students as part of New Jersey’s Student Learning Standards and is an equal component of education along with Language Arts, Math and Science?
- Did you know that the Arts are now part of the NJ School Performance Reports for middle schools and high schools issued by the New Jersey Department of Education?
- Are you aware of the Arts Education benchmarks by grade band and high school graduation requirement?
- Extensive research has shown that the arts increase student engagement, which is a key factor in addressing major educational challenges (closing the opportunity gap, reducing the dropout rate, preparing more students for college eligibility, and developing the creativity needed in the 21st century workforce). Are you aware of the benefits of Arts Education for all students?
- It is widely acknowledged that the provision of a well-rounded curriculum is a key component of a well-rounded education. However, as a result of COVID-19, there has been a reduction in both time and program opportunities for students in the arts, and in some cases, it has been reported that arts educators are being used to support other subjects outside their certification. During times of crisis, would you support the budget and staffing needed to maintain Arts Education programs equally with other subjects?
- Social and Emotional Learning has emerged as a priority for many districts across the state. Are you aware of the natural alignment between Arts Education and Social and Emotional Learning?
- If elected (or re-elected) will you take a leadership position advocating for Arts Education as a critical component in the education of students in your district?
Candidates were also given the chance to offer additional comments.
A statewide network of organizations, including Arts Ed NJ, ArtPride New Jersey, New Jersey State Council on the Arts, Art Educators of New Jersey, New Jersey Music Educators Association, Dance New Jersey, Speech and Theatre Association of New Jersey and others are sending the survey results to thousands of prospective voters.
Arts Ed NJ says the results will provide voters a deeper understanding of each candidate’s views on arts education.