BETHESDA, Md. — Schools across the country are investing less in theatre arts programs according to a U.S. Department of Education study released last month (http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2012014).

American Alliance for Theatre and Education
American Alliance for Theatre and Education

The research, conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics, showed a 16% drop in public elementary school instruction for drama/theatre over the past ten years, and a 3% drop in secondary schools. It also revealed a disparity between affluent and low-income secondary school districts, where lower-income children are 28% less likely to have access to theatre arts instruction in their schools.

“Youth who participate in school drama and theatre arts programs score better on standardized tests and achieve higher graduation rates,” says Marcie Granahan, executive director of the American Alliance for Theatre and Education. “It is a travesty that the children in most need of these programs are losing access.”

Doug Herbert, Special Assistant for the Office of Innovation and Improvement within the U.S. Department of Education, will present the latest findings at the AATE national conference August 8 – 12, 2012, in Lexington, KY. The conference brings together more than 500 theatre artists, educators, and scholars helping to transform young people through the theatre arts. This year’s conference will also include sessions on national core standards for arts education, adapting curriculum for youth with learning differences, and creating original work with educational content.

English: National Center for Education Statist...
English: National Center for Education Statistics logo. (2010, U.S. Department of Education. Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistic). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For more information on the benefits of school theatre arts programs, or attend the AATE national conference, visit http://www.aate.com.

The American Alliance for Theatre and Education (AATE), among the most recognized arts education organizations, works to ensure that every young person experiences quality theatre arts in their lives provided by proficient, talented artists and educators. Based in Bethesda, MD, AATE continues to advocate for arts education, serving as a national co-sponsor of Arts Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill and on the leadership team of the National Coalition for Core Arts Standards (NCCAS). AATE co-authored the National Standards for Theatre Education K-12, sits on the Arts Education Partnership steering committee, the Arts Education National Advisory Council and serves on the editorial board of the Arts Education Policy Review.

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