The New Jersey Arts Education Partnership was created to be the unified voice for arts education, established in 2007 following years of planning and input by arts and education leaders statewide. The organization was originally founded in 2007 as a co-sponsored program of the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, with additional support from the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, New Jersey Department of Education and Music for All Foundation. On July 1, 2015, NJAEP became an independent non-profit organization.
The core beliefs that shaped Partnership’s beginning remain the same today:
a) Arts Education is essential to basic knowledge and a fundamental right of every citizen in our schools and across our communities, and
b) The collective voice of diverse stakeholders is the most effective means for advancing the arts in education.
The mission of the NJAEP is to provide a unified voice for a diverse group of constituents who agree on the educational benefits and impact of the arts, specifically the contribution they make to student achievement and a civilized, sustainable society.
Launched in conjunction with the release of the first-ever Arts Education Census Report, the Partnership’s first task was to focus on carrying out the recommendations of the Report. To date, the efforts of NJAEP have led to increased access to arts education for more than 75,000 students.
Since 2007, NJAEP has had a significant impact on arts education across the state:
- In 2007, NJAEP released the first statewide census report on the status and condition of arts education providing accountability for state policies and highlighting both strengths and areas for improvement;
- NJAEP worked with the New Jersey State Department of Education to include arts education in local school district accountability reviews;
- In 2009, NJAEP coordinated the revision of Core Curriculum Content Standards for the Visual and Performing Arts – the document used to guide the development of local arts curriculum;
- In 2012, NJAEP worked with other subject area associations to protect the role of non-tested subjects as part of the states Core Curricular Content Standards;
- In 2014, NJAEP worked with the New Jersey State Department of Education to include arts education measures as part of the School Performance Reports released for every school becoming the first state in the nation to have such measures; and,
- In 2014 and 2015 NJAEP released a series of interactive dashboards to allow citizens to review and compare arts education information for every school in the state.
New Jersey adopted its first set of core curriculum content standards in the arts in 1996. In short, all districts are expected to provide opportunities for learning in four arts disciplines: dance, music, theater, and visual arts through sequential arts instruction from grades k-12. Ensuring that these standards are thoroughly understood and implemented throughout the state is among the NJAEP’s highest priorities.
Conducting and disseminating research has been a focus for NJAEP. By documenting arts education in every school, NJAEP has been able to issue two statewide school-by-school census reports, added the arts to the NJ School Performance Reports, and has created interactive Arts Education Report Cards. In addition, NJAEP’s accomplishments include: identifying Model Schools in the Arts; becoming a central clearinghouse of information for all arts education resources and services in New Jersey; working closely with a diverse group of stakeholders; becoming the presenting organization for the Governor’s Awards in Arts Education; and, providing professional development for teachers and school administrators.
But there is more work to be done to assure that arts education becomes part of the core curriculum for every child.
Arts Ed NJ (previously the New Jersey Arts Education Partnership) continues to strive for its original vision: arts education for every child, every day, every school, every year. As an independent organization, it will continue to raise the bar, and champion arts education for every child at every stage of learning.