Arts Education Policies

State Policies

The minimum expectation in California Education Code Sections 51210 and 51220 is that all students in grades 1 to 6 ‚Äúshall receive instruction‚ÄĚ and all students in grades 7-12 ‚Äúshall have access to courses‚ÄĚ in visual and performing arts. An infographic that may be helpful in guiding conversations about California policy that supports arts education can be found on the California Arts Education Resources for Implementation website.¬†

The Appendices of the CA Arts Education Framework also include a comprehensive list of Education policies that drive arts education in California.

  • Appendix A¬†contains Education Code related to arts education as of 2020.
  • Appendix B¬†lists University of California and California State University Admission Requirements

Federal Policy

The 2015 Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) defines a well-rounded education as including

“…courses, activities, and programming in subjects such as English, reading or language arts, writing, science, technology, engineering, mathematics, foreign languages, civics and government, economics, arts, history, geography, computer science, music, career and technical education, health, physical education, and any other subject, as determined by the State or local educational agency, with the purpose of providing all students access to an enriched curriculum and educational experience.”

Under ESSA:

  • Flexibility in Title I funds can provide supplemental funds for a well-rounded education including the arts.
  • Professional learning and development for teachers of the arts disciplines (single subject and multiple subject teachers) can be provided through ESSA Titles I, II and IV funds.
  • Removing students from the classroom, including arts classrooms, for remedial instruction is discouraged.

A one-page handout on ESSA can be downloaded from the Arts Education Framework Resources for Implementation Hub

Access the full text of ESSA Legislation at

Policies and Resources Related to Safety

California Education Code provides guidance on healthy and safe arts materials. Appendix E of the California Arts Education Framework provides specific Education Code citations and other information related to safety.

Nationally developed Opportunity-to-Learn Standards provide information on safety considerations for dance, music and theatre: