Council of Chief State School Officers Recommendation

SEADAE has a long and successful history in the movement toward improved arts education data. During the Fall of 2009, SEADAE leaders worked with the Council of Chief State School Officers and the Education Information Management Advisory Consortium (EIMAC) to develop the philosophy of state level data collection to ensure non-tested subject areas (such as the visual and performing arts) would be included in data collection plans being advanced as a result of the passage of the America Competes Act and American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The actions outlined in this press release from December 2009 have set the stage for conceptualizing the National Arts Education Data Project.


December 10, 2009

Contact: Dr. Linda Lovins
Phone: (850) 294-0981

Chiefs Embrace Call for Data Collection for All Core Courses

(Washington, DC) The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) has endorsed the collection of key data in all core subjects as defined by the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). This recommendation, approved by CCSSO’s Board of Directors, provides guidance to states for the development of the Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems (SLDS).

The recommendation was proposed by the Education Information Management Advisory Consortium (EIMAC) following a presentation at their annual meeting about rising concerns among education leaders that non-tested subjects would be excluded from the development of the SLDS. The recommendation states:

“Chiefs should encourage data collections of school courses, teachers, and numbers of students enrolled. Collections should include the core academic subjects as defined by ESEA as well as physical education, health, and career technology education.” (ESEA defines core academic subjects as English, reading or language arts, mathematics, science, foreign languages, civics and government, economics, arts, history and geography.)

Sue Gendron, Commissioner of Education (Maine) and CCSSO President, stated, “As we move ahead with our unprecedented effort to collect important and comparable data from all states, it is critical that we have a complete picture of the range and depth of the curriculum around the country. This includes the curricular areas that are tested as well as those that are not.”

Jerry Zahorchak, CCSSO Liaison to EIMAC and Pennsylvania’s Commissioner of Education, noted “When state data on classes, teachers, and students are collected, we must have a complete and accurate picture of what courses are being offered, who is teaching them, and how many students are receiving the instruction.”

“The Council is vitally interested in promoting a full and balanced curriculum for all students. Collecting data on all curricular areas is the only way to make this balance transparent,” added Gene Wilhoit, Executive Director, CCSSO.

The State Education Agency Directors of Arts Education (SEADAE) brought forward the concern on behalf of the non-tested subject areas. “We are grateful to CCSSO for embracing this recommendation and setting the expectation for all subjects to be included in these developing state data systems,” stated Deb Hansen, SEADAE President. “By having reliable data for all core subjects, education leaders, policy makers, and subject-area specialists will have the information needed to make informed decisions regarding student access to the broad range of subjects that make up a quality education.”

Access to data on arts education in the United States has been elusive. Currently no data exists to determine the number of students participating in arts education across the nation, the number of schools with arts programs, or the schools in which arts offerings are not available. As a result, SEADAE has taken the lead in the drive for improved data collection for arts education. The SEADAE Data Task Force, comprised of state arts education leaders and representatives of the four professional arts education associations for Dance, Music, Theatre, and Visual Arts, has been working for several months. The group is currently reviewing the status of data collection and analysis for each state as well as working with the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) on the development of course names and description for all arts courses to aide states in the implementation of the CCSSO recommendation. SEADAE member Richard A. Baker, Louisiana, and Bob Morrison of Quadrant Research are co-chairs of the SEADAE Data Task Force.

The SEADAE Data Task Force is part of SEADAE’s National Expectations for Learning in Arts Education initiative to advance access, equity, and excellence in arts education for all students. This initiative targets student learning, teacher practice, educational leadership, data collection, policy development, and community partnerships.

The State Education Agency Directors of Arts Education (SEADAE) is the national organization of the individuals at state education agencies whose responsibility is arts education (dance, music, theatre, and visual arts). SEADAE’s mission includes providing a collective voice for leadership on issues affecting arts education to achieve quality, comprehensive, sequential, standards-based education in the arts for all students.

The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) is a nationwide, nonprofit organization of public officials who head departments of elementary and secondary education in the states, the District of Columbia, the Department of Defense Education Activity, and five U.S. extra-state jurisdictions. CCSSO provides leadership, advocacy, and technical assistance on major educational issues. The Council seeks members’ consensus on major educational issues and expresses their views to civic and professional organizations, federal agencies, Congress, and the public.