Millions of American Students Are Denied Access to Music Education, According to First-Ever National Study by Arts Education Data Project


Arts Education Data Project

“For the first time, we have a clear picture and can provide advocates, administrators, parents and policymakers with critical data to improve student access where it’s needed.” – Robert Morrison, CEO of Quadrant Research

Despite significant progress in recent years to keep music and other arts in American public schools, millions of American public school students still do not have access to these programs. So reveal recent findings from the Arts Education Data Project (AEDP), which provides the first-ever examination of the status and conditions of music and arts education in U.S. public schools based on large-scale data. student participation scale.

A joint effort between directors of arts education at the state Education Agency and its longtime partner, Quadrant Research, AEDP studied actual student participation data reported by school districts to their state education departments for the 2019 school year. The result is the National Arts Education Status Report Summary 2019, a comprehensive overview of access to and participation in arts education in public schools in the states. -United.

The release of the report coincides with NAMM Music Education Advocacy Hill Day on September 14, when members and arts education advocates join the industry association in Washington, D.C., to deliver a message of support for the music education to members of Congress and their legislative aides.

It is also timed for National Arts in Education Week (September 11-17), when the arts education field comes together in communities across the country to tell the story of the impact of power transformative of the arts in education.

It’s a matter of equity in education

The new AEDP report reveals that while 92% of US public school students have access to music education at school, 3,609,698* of students do not have that same opportunity. In addition, 2,095,538* students have no access to any arts education (defined as dance, music, theater or visual arts).

The new data also reveals that a disproportionate number of public school students without access to music and arts education are concentrated in schools in major urban communities; have the highest percentage of students eligible for free/discounted meals; and are predominantly black, Hispanic, or Native American. Also, many of these students with no music and arts education attend public charter schools.

Research shows that learning music results in educational, cognitive, social, emotional, and physical benefits. For example, pioneering research by neurobiologist Nina Kraus1 offers insight into how musical experience affects brain function across the lifespan. Findings to date indicate that harnessing the brain’s potential for music learning supports overall learning and is most critical for disadvantaged and underserved students.

To advance access and equity for all students, federal education law as defined by the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) recognizes music and the arts as part of a comprehensive education .

Contrary to reports of a decline in the number of music and arts programs, the AEDP report confirms that music and arts education is broadly accessible to students of all grades, with participation at its most high level in elementary schools, as many states require attendance at this level. level.

Music and the visual arts are the artistic disciplines most accessible to students and therefore have the highest participation. Most schools (80%) offer two or more artistic disciplines.

Yet, despite this positive trend, there is room for improvement.

“Equity in education determines whether students can learn and grow with music and the arts,” said Robert Morrison, CEO of Quadrant Research. “Prior to our new AEDP report, we had no large-scale, national-level visibility into the true status and state of music and arts education in American public schools. For the first time, we have a clear picture. and can provide advocates, administrators, parents, and policy makers with critical data to improve student access where it’s needed.”

More than 120 state agencies, arts councils, advocacy organizations, funders, and professional arts education associations are involved in this collective impact work.

Information in the AEDP report comes from 30,633 schools in 7,015 districts in 17 states, representing 18 million students or 36% of the total U.S. public school student population for the year. school year 2018/2019. States included are Arizona, Arkansas, California, Delaware, Georgia, Iowa, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio , Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Tennessee and Wisconsin.

National funding for the Arts Education Data Project was provided by the CMA Foundation, the Music Man Foundation, the NAMM Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and the Ohio Arts Council. In addition, various state agencies and state-based philanthropic organizations have provided individual state funding.

To learn more about the Arts Education Data Project, including links to individual state dashboards, visit or


  • The projections are based on a mathematical weight applied to the NCES list of schools in states not included in the list above to calculate the number of students and schools without access to arts or music education.


About Quadrant Research As a pioneer in reporting state-level arts education data, Quadrant Research is a nationally recognized leader in research, analysis and market intelligence in the fields of culture, commerce, government and education. Quadrant Research specializes in arts education and serves the four major artistic disciplines: music, dance, theater and visual arts. Quadrant Research provides market data, analysis and insights to give clients an accurate picture of current market conditions as well as the insights needed for future growth.


The State Agency for Education’s Directors of Arts Education (SEADAE) supports the professional effectiveness of its individual members and provides a collective voice for leadership on matters affecting arts education in order to achieve quality, comprehensive, sequential and standards-based arts education for all students. PreK-20. Membership consists of those individuals in state education agencies whose responsibility is education in the arts (dance, media arts, music, theater and visual arts).

About NAMM

The National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) is a non-profit association whose mission is to strengthen the $17 billion music products industry. NAMM is made up of more than 15,000 member companies and individual members located in 104 countries and regions. NAMM events and members fund the NAMM Foundation which promotes the pleasures and benefits of music and advances active participation in creating music throughout life.


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