Research sometimes reveals dramatic results about the specific effects of arts learning on students. But research fulfills other functions, such as: raise questions about the ends and methods of arts education; allow to take stock of progress made in delivering quality arts education; help to understand keys to effective partnerships in support of arts education; lay out the pros and cons of policy options in sustaining excellent arts education in schools, districts, and states. Many kinds of research have been used in the work: from research on the arts and academic achievement and arts learning and the brain, to research on model partnerships, policy initiatives, and workforce development. The U. S. Department of Education assesses the status of arts programming and policy in public schools.
In 1997, National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) estimated students' progress in music, theater, and visual arts. The plan for a national assessment of students' knowledge revealed some "gaps" in the process. It showed that in some schools a system suffered greatly from the retrenchments that had been made. Under the No Child Left Behind Act the arts were given their status in education. But according to researches in 2004, there were several schools that failed to meet a new federal standard for school improvement. The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 is to blame because it has reshaped public education in the United States.
The No Child Left Behind Act was adopted taking into account an experience of previous generations. 50 years ago Brown v. Board of Education case became the first serious decision about education. The U. S. Supreme Court agreed that "separate but equal doctrine" was not constitutional and racial segregation in public schools were abolished.
In 1964, the Civil Rights Act was passed; and a year later Elementary and Secondary Education Act was adopted. The Education Act was based on the principles of free education for all American citizens. But with the development of the society the Act was unable to fulfill new tasks that the state had faced. It law also has many implications for arts education but not all of them made a positive effect.
From the U. S. Department of Education Web site, The No Child Left Behind Act was "based on four basic principles: stronger accountability for results, increased flexibility and local control, expanded options for parents, and an emphasis on methods that have been proven to work." The law also limited arts education activities in research; school-based arts education programs; development of statewide tests. For modern public arts magnet schools, the main priorities have included improvements in reading, mathematics, and science, according to Title V of the No Child Left Behind Act.
Most of all, advanced courses must focus on "the core academic subjects of English, mathematics, and science" (Title I). But the Law provides grants for arts education for professional development, for the development of "model" arts in education programs; as well as for after school programs. All the measures help to reduce dropouts and improve academic achievement. Though arts education grants from the No Child Left Behind Act may strengthen some programs, but stay in a way of other considerations because the prospects for arts education in many other schools are far from bright. The No Child Left Behind Act does not support teaching or teacher preparation from critically informed and artful perspectives.
That's why traditions of teaching and learning in the visual arts have become contrary to the prevailing ethos of national policy at many levels. 25 years ago, in the American Association of School Administrators' Curriculum Handbook was said, "In the truly comprehensive program, the school administrator is willing to accept the role of the arts as equal in importance to the role of scientific and technical studies." Nowadays, arts education has become a critical tool in providing the creative industries with arts-trained workers. It goes without saying that progress was steadily upward. At present almost 97 percent of public elementary schools offer instruction in music and visual arts.