Examining Funding for Arts in Education at Oakland Unified School District: A Mixed Methods Approach

This study seeks to address the issue of lack of funding for the arts in education through a mixed methods approach by examining the role accountability systems have played in shaping education policy and specifically considering the ramifications of the No Child Left Behind Act. Arts education in public schools has been shown to positively impact both students and educators. Standardized testing accountability systems, however, have shifted arts programs to among the first to be cut from schools, despite changes in policy. This research proposal would seek to collect data from schools in the Oakland Unified School district on the impact budget cuts have had on students' access to arts education in the classroom. A gap in the literature exists regarding the ability of educators to communicate with policymakers. Were this study to be carried out, its results could provide researchers with a launching point to be able to educate teachers and administrators on methods to best frame the benefits of the arts in the classroom when communicating with policymakers without sacrificing the integrity of the arts for a more market-driven approach.