Policy Research Shop Testimony: March 9th, 2017

PRS Students Testify Before the Vermont Arts Council

On Thursday, March 9th, 2017, two students from the Class of 1964 Policy Research Shop – Megan Mishra '17 and Genna Liu '19 – traveled to Montpelier to present to members of the Vermont Arts Council, including Alex Aldrich (Executive Director), Zon Eastes (Outreach and Advancement), Troy Hickman (Education Programs Manager), and Kira Bacon (Communications and Outreach Manager). The students presented findings from their study “Vermont Arts Education: Assessment of the State of Art Education in Vermont Schools,” which explored the viability of creating an online database to track the scope of the arts curriculum offered at Vermont K-12 schools.

A major finding was that such a database is realistically possible only with the cooperation of the state Agency of Education that could survey schools about their art course offerings. The students conducted a preliminary survey of schools that could serve as a template to build on. This revealed that most schools offer courses in music and visual arts, but that dance and theater courses are much less common. Furthermore, the students administered an online questionnaire to over twenty VT school principals, which found that while principals appear highly committed to teaching arts, they lament the lack of financial resources to hire more teachers in these areas. Following their presentation, the students fielded a number of questions about methodology and their recommendations going forward from curious council members.