Lawmakers propose adding arts education to Florida school grade calculation
If you test it, they will teach it.
That's part of the reasoning behind legislation filed by Rep. Charles McBurney and Sen. Nancy Detert, two Republicans who are proposing that the state count participation in arts education count as a piece of public schools' state grades. (HB 283, SB 428) McBurney and Detert recently won leadership awards from the Florida Alliance for Arts Education
As Florida school districts have slashed their budgets in recent years, art and music courses often have been considered as potential targets for elimination as extras or luxuries.
Arts advocates -- and they are many and vocal -- have fought to keep the programs intact. They point to research indicating that arts education sparks imagination and hones thinking skills. They also note that the arts, like athletics, stoke the interest of students who might otherwise have less desire to come to school.
It's not unusual to hear the criticism that schools will look to the arts because the state doesn't have high stakes arts tests. A few years back, Florida music teachers actually pushed for a music FCAT to generate more funding and attention to their subject.