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In the United States, many public, private, and charter PreK-12 schools offer dance education to their students as in-school classes, often part of the arts curriculum while some offer dance classes as part of their physical education program. In some districts we also see dance offered in the drill or dance team programs that perform for sporting events.
As of February 2021, academic standards for dance were in place in every state and the District of Columbia, and thirty-five states certify PreK-12 educators in dance. With the assistance of the Education Commission of the States and the Arts Education Partnership, we now have answers to the following questions: What is the status of academic standards and teacher certification for dance in each state? What are licensure assessment requirements to become a dance educator in states where dance certification exists? Credential, licensure, and certification requirements for PreK-12 education differ from state to state due to lack of standardization in terminology, state legislation and policies, and funding.
Click Here to read the K-12 State Level Standards and Certification Summary and Chart.
According to the most recent data from the National Center for Education Statistics, in the 2017-2018 school year, there were 130,930 total K-12 institutions in the United States. Public schools accounted for 75% of those institutions.
NDEO believes that in-school dance programs are a vital part of the dance education community. They ensure that all students have access to dance education, regardless of their background, ability, and socioeconomic status. Moreover, the inclusion of dance in the PreK-12 curriculum increases exposure to dance that benefits the entire field. Students who discover dance as part of the school curriculum often seek out further instruction at studios and in after-school programs. They may choose to attend college dance programs. They can become lifelong fans of dance, attending dance concerts as audience members, supporting dance in their communities and advocating for the future of dance and dance education.
On March 12,2021 President Biden signed the American Rescue Act into law. This legislation includes a substantial round of Elementary and Secondary Education Relief funding (ESSER). This third round of ESSER funding, ESSER III, totals $126,000,000,000 for K-12 education. Learn how ESSER funds can be used to support dance education while mitigating the spread of COVID-19. Click Here to Read the ESSER Funding Toolkit for K12 - 2021
Historically, dance programs have been housed for many years under physical education departments in many educational institutions. In the past 20 years, dance has increasingly moved to fine and performing arts programs. An article written by NDEO Founding Executive Director, Jane Bonbright, in the Journal of Dance Education explains the background of the K-12 dance landscape and distinguishes between dance in physical education and dance in the arts. Click Here to Read the Article, Threats to Dance Education Our Field at Risk.
There are many benefits of dance in PreK-12 education, including: