In the last eight years we have worked with the United States Department of Education under a grant called the Arts in Education Model Demonstration and Dissemination (AEMDD) program. I have detailed our research and the results of our rigorous design in other posts, but I want to make sure that the department and its generous funding can also be highlighted. There have been 12 years of program funding with some years of lower award amounts and last year no awards were granted although every program that was already in the grant process received their ongoing funding. The outcomes of this funding are a new level of serious work in research on the arts, many new ways of understanding the impact of arts education, and a variety of new ideas that need further research.
Our US Department of Education funded work showed that integrating the arts in disadvantaged populations helps students to achieve better results on state-mandated standardized tests. It also showed that job-embedded professional development changes teacher instruction by demonstrating the advantages directly to teachers, and professional development that is continuous, regular and supportive helps teachers change their practice in 10 weeks. Teachers benefit and that benefit is quickly conveyed to students. Rochester is now using this reform strategy at $78/student/year. Perhaps this is a reform strategy worthy of consideration for other disadvantaged populations?
Here is the current program description on the US DOE website:
The Department will not hold a competition in FY 2015. Current funding will be used to provide continuation awards to existing grants. To learn more about the funded projects, please visit the Awards page.
The program supports the enhancement, expansion, documentation, evaluation, and dissemination of innovative, cohesive models that demonstrate effectiveness in:
- Integrating into and strengthening arts in the core elementary and middle school curricula;
- Strengthening arts instruction in those grades; and
- Improving students’ academic performance, including their skills in creating, performing, and responding to the arts.
Grants are designed to enable LEAs and organizations with arts expertise to further create and develop materials for the replication or adaptation of current comprehensive approaches for integrating a range of arts disciplines-such as music, dance, theater, and visual arts, including folk arts-into the elementary and middle school curricula.
Funds must be used in elementary and/or middle schools to:
- Develop programs designed to expand arts integration into the core curricula, improve arts instruction and academic performance;
- Develop materials designed to help replicate or adapt arts programs;
- Document and assess the results and benefits of arts programs; and
- Develop products and services that can be used to replicate arts programs in other settings.
Applicants must describe an existing set of strategies for integrating the arts into the regular elementary and middle school curricula, which could then successfully be implemented, expanded, documented, evaluated, and disseminated (http://www2.ed.gov/programs/artsedmodel/index.html).