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A Survey Of Arts Education In Programs In California Public Elementary Schools (Music, Dance, Drama)

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Purpose. The purpose of this study was to describe the arts education programs operating in California public elementary schools in 1984. The goal was to gather data about unique and characteristic features of each program defined by criteria developed from a pilot study, and based on observations of exemplary arts education programs in the state. The data were intended to assist administrators, teachers and legislators in planning appropriate and meaningful arts education programs for elementary students in the state. Procedure. This research investigated how many California public elementary schools in the sample offered arts education programs, as perceived by teachers in those schools responding to the questionnaire survey. A total sample of 150 schools was ranked according to school size. Two teachers per school were each asked to respond to a questionnaire about arts education programs offered in their schools. Descriptive information was obtained by processing the data through the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) at the University of the Pacific computer center. Findings. The research showed that the majority of respondents provided arts programs in their schools. The highest percentage of arts subjects offered were art and music provided on a weekly basis by classroom instruction. These arts subjects were taught by one to three instructors, either credentialed or non-credentialed, during the school day. In most cases, arts programs were supported by district funds. Conclusions. According to the responses of teachers, arts education should be integrated into the general (basic) education of students. Arts specialists were viewed as essential to the success of arts programs. Recommendations. This research suggested that more exact information was needed about the extent of arts education programs offered by elementary schools in the state. In addition, a survey should be made of administrators, parents and students to determine: (1) their interest in arts education programs, and (2) their perception of the level of importance of arts education as compared with other subjects in the curriculum. Furthermore, current reports of the interaction of right and left brain development of students through arts experiences should be investigated. (Abstract shortened with permission of author.)

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