All 47,000 students in Washtenaw County are entitled to equitable access to high-quality, consistent, sequential, standards-based arts + creative education as their right to a well-rounded and excellent education.
Nine public school districts, 12 public school academies, 16 private schools, 3 consortium schools + all home schooled students.
ACEISE was undertaken to achieve the no. 1 priority of the Washtenaw County Master Cultural Plan: to set the directive - once and for all - that every student in Washtenaw County is entitled to equitable high-quality, consistent, sequential, standards-based arts + creative education as integral to their right to a well-rounded and excellent education.
The ACEISE assessment, research and resulting report recognizes the importance of arts + creative education and contrasts this with inequitable access in portions of Washtenaw County. Importantly, our county is part of a statewide and national education movement that reflects long-term devaluation of arts + creativity. However, that trend could be reversed based on the Every Student Succeeds Act's that firmly places these subjects within the definition of a well-rounded education for students.
Arts + creativity are vitally important to cultivate community in our schools and to offer students the opportunity for self-expression. We recognize that the benefits of curricular, sequential arts exposure extend far beyond the metrics related to the arts + creativity as a vehicles for student learning in other subjects: students engaged in creative education have measurably improved school, work and life experiences. Data show that the arts improve school communities and enhance parents' engagement, as well.
The Washtenaw Intermediate School District and The Arts Alliance are committed to equity and social justice, and these findings illustrate inequitable arts + creative education access for youth in our county. Whether the inequity is related to geography, socioeconomic status or other biases, this is unacceptable. Because arts + creativity are an important vehicle for self-expression, student learning, enrichment and success, it is essential that all young people have access. Arts and creativity are fundamental to our humanity; they offer a means to greater understanding of our society for youth as learners.
* with appreciation to Ken Fischer!