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Kenneth Elpus
in press, Arts Education Policy Review
Publication year: 2020

The purpose of this study was to understand the contextual, school-level factors associated with the availability of arts education courses in the high schools of the United States. In the study, course offerings for a nationally representative sample of N = 940 high schools that were part of the National Center for Education Statistics High School Longitudinal Study of 2009 (HSLS) were analyzed to understand whether there were common school characteristics linked to the availability of visual art, music, dance, or theater courses. Results suggest that the strongest and most consistent school factor related to arts course availability was school size. As enrollment increased, so did the likelihood of offering any arts course or more than one of the arts disciplines. Traditional public schools had the greatest likelihood of offering arts education, followed by Catholic schools, and non-Catholic private schools. Public charter high schools were the least likely to offer courses in the arts. Proportion of students eligible for free- or reduced-price lunch was also associated with the probability of offering arts courses, with decreased arts availability at schools serving greater proportions of students eligible for the National School Lunch Program. Neither urbanicity nor region of the country were significantly associated with arts availability. The analyses reported in the article are both aggregated across all disciplines and disaggregated for each art form.

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