Illinois Arts Learning Standards Initiative

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Arts education is crucial to providing a complete and competitive education for all students in Illinois, and arts learning standards strengthen arts education by spelling out what students are expected to learn in each artistic discipline. In partnership with the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE), Arts Alliance Illinois is coordinating the Illinois Arts Learning Standards Initiative, a statewide process to update our state's arts learning standards to reflect best practices.

Latest News

July 2016: On July 12, Illinois' updated arts learning standards received their final stamp of approval: affirmation by the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules. The bipartisan committee voted unanimously to support the updated standards. The committee's vote affirms action taken in June by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE). 

The standards will go into effect starting with the 2018-19 school year, but the Alliance and its partner organizations are already putting the initiative's implementation recommendations into motion. Sign up for our newsletter to stay informed.

June 2016: On June 16, the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) voted unanimously to approve the updated arts learning standards recommended by the Illinois Arts Learning Standards Initiative, the first update in nearly 20 years. The vote affirmed the arts as essential to a complete and competitive education for all students. More than 900 Illinoisans expressed support for the recommended standards during ISBE's public comment period.

February 2016: On February 10th, 2016, the initiative presented its recommended standards to the ISBE Board, which approved a public comment period (February 26 - April 11). This was a unique opportunity for us to show support for the recommended standards and voice the value of arts education. 

Public comments were submitted to ISBE through the Illinois Arts Learning Standards website. The public comment period ended on April 11, 2016. 

October 2015: We invited teachers, administrators, and teaching artists to inform education policy and receive professional development credit.

In partnership with the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE), Arts Alliance Illinois coordinated the Illinois Arts Learning Standards Initiative, a statewide process to update Illinois' arts learning standards to reflect best practices. Since the initiative was announced in August 2014, a diverse Steering Committee and Advisory Committee have led the way. Their hard work resulted in a comprehensive draft of recommended standards, adapting the new national arts standards to Illinois.

Before presenting the recommendations to the ISBE Board, we held two community forums -- in Springfield (10/19/15) and Chicago (10/22/15). The draft standards were also available online for review, along with a questionnaire for feedback.

August 2014: Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) announced a partnership with Arts Alliance Illinois to assess newly released national arts learning standards and to develop recommendations for Illinois. You can access the press announcement here. This review process was an opportunity to paint a clear picture of what a high-quality arts education should look like in Illinois. The Alliance collaborated with ISBE to convene a statewide task-force of leaders and experts to review and assess the recently released National Arts Standards and recommend updated statewide arts standards to ISBE. The Illinois Learning Standards for Fine Arts had not been updated since 1997.

This development was a huge step forward in our work to improve arts education access, equity, and quality in Illinois. In addition to directly addressing our policy goal to “update and utilize state-level arts learning standards,” this process will help advance other policy goals and strengthen the statewide arts education delivery system in Illinois.

Learn more about the Illinois Arts Learning Standards at http://illinoisartslearning.org/.

For more information on the Illinois Arts Learning Standards Initiative, please contact Jonathan VanderBrug, Policy & Research Director, Arts Alliance Illinois, at vanderbrug@artsalliance.org or 312.855.3105 x12.