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Location: Villa Park, Illinois, United States

I have worked for Graphic Chemical & Ink Company since 1968 - with a brief hiatus(almost 4 years) to travel the World courtesy of my uncle. Sadly it turns out it was my Uncle Sam, and I wasn't too thrilled about the places that he chose to send me. My wife and I have run Graphic Chemical for many years, and have enjoyed the travel that comes with the position. We get to meet our customers (and the occasional vendor) from all over the World

Thursday, February 16, 2006


I have chosen today, to plagarize shamelessly from the newsletter of one of my favorite groups - the Illinois Arts Alliance newsletter. They have recently sent out their first newsletter, and they have included the following piece that bears reading.

Arts at the Core: Every School, Every Student
The status of arts education in Illinois public schools

In April 2005, surveys were sent to all Illinois principals and superintendents to better understand the status of arts education in Illinois schools and the challenges of delivering quality arts instruction. In total 234 superintendents and 751 principals responded for a response rate of 20.6% The respondents reflected a representative, statistically sound sample with respect to location, size, student population and school type.

Here are the Six Major Findings:

Major Finding 1: Almost all superintendents and principals agree that "The arts are an essential part of a quality education, that arts education helps students perform better on standardized achievement tests" and that "arts education is important to success in life."

Major Finding 2: Despite strong support for arts education, almost 20% of Illinois principals surveyed report having no arts program (visual arts, theater, music or dance) in their schools, AND 28% of superintendents report that none of the four arts disciplines were considered part of the core curriculum in their district.

Major Finding 3: Students in Illinois do not have equal access to arts education, the strongest correlating factor being where they live. Students in rural areas and small school districts tend to receive the least amount of arts instruction. Inconsistencies in the delivery of arts education also exist among schools within large urban districts and between suburban school districts.

Major Finding 4: One in ten Illinois school districts has no certified arts teachers in any arts discipline anywhere in the district. Twenty three percent of schools employ no arts specialist.

Major Finding 5: Eleven percent of school districts in Illinois require no arts instruction in any grade. In addition, 80% of high school principals report that students in their schools are not required to take a single course in the arts in order to graduate.

Major Finding 6: According to principals and superintendents, the most significant barrier to arts education is budget considerations, with lack of available time in the schoolday also a major barrier.

The full research report can be downloaded from

While this report is Illinois specific, it is indicative of what is happening in many areas across the country. For the record, Illinois has, at last count, 887 school districts in three types: Elementary (K-8), High School (9-12), and Unit (K-12). A full 25% of high schools outside of the city of Chicago, have a total student population of less than 250 students across four grades.


Blogger Helen said...

I am a high school art teacher in New Zealand and found this artical very interesting.

The school I teach at only has 250 students. Not sure how our system equates to your grade system but our school has students from Year 7 (11 year olds) through to Year 13 (18 year olds) and I teach the full range.

Our core curriculum in NZ is dictated to us by government policy and so some form of art education is mean to be taught up to Year 10 (14 - 15 year olds).

In the school that I teach we have Visual Art and Performing Arts being taught as core subjects up to Year 8 and then the students get to choose.

Ours is a real small school like some mentioned in that artical and there has always been art of some form taught at it.

I found it quite incredible that there can be such a large number of schools in a state in the US that doesn't cover this valuable area of a students education.

I guess if I ever wanted to do a job swap to the US then I wouldn't be going to Illinios.

4:23 PM  

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