Perpich News

Arts Education Data Project Expanded: Tell Your Story

October 12, 2020

Access to arts education: how does your district compare?
The Arts Education Data Project has been expanded to include all grade levels K-12 and to include the 2017-2018 school year. This data collected by the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) allows us to take a look at students’ access to arts education in Minnesota’s schools.

Unfortunately, over 40% of K-6 schools and ⅓ of 7-12 schools did not report into the system for the 2017-18 school year, which is the most recent available data. This makes it difficult to demonstrate how many are meeting or exceeding state requirements. However, we can see that some schools are meeting or exceeding the requirements set in statute and some are not.

High schools must offer at least three and require at least one of the following arts areas: dance, media arts, music, theater, and visual arts. Students must take one credit of the arts to graduate. Elementary and Middle Schools must offer arts instruction in at least three arts areas and students are required to meet the standards in two arts areas. MDE has provided an overview of these requirements.

According to the 2017-2018 data:

  • Approximately 10% of reporting schools indicated that they provide access to three arts areas, as required in statute.
  • 84% of students attending the reporting schools are provided access to one or more arts areas.
  • The most common arts areas offered are Visual or Media Arts and Music.

Launched last year, the Arts Education Data Project is a partnership between Creative Minnesota, the Minnesota Department of Education, and Perpich Center for Arts Education. Its aim is to understand what access to arts education looks like across the state. The resulting study and online resource share data for grades K-12.

This year, additional features have been added including:

  • School Profile – A school specific “report card” looking at arts access and enrollment.
  • Comparison – Select and compare data from districts with similar enrollment size, free and reduced lunch categories, locale, and more.
  • Course Finder – An in-depth look at courses offered and the schools and districts where they are offered.

How to ensure that data about your district is accurate
Stakeholders can now easily learn about how their district is meeting Minnesota’s arts education requirements through the online resource. This website will be updated annually with the most recently available data from MDE. As the number of schools reporting this required data increases, our understanding of access to the arts in schools will improve.

The good news is that districts can easily ensure that this online resource tells their story accurately. The Minnesota Common Course Catalog (MCCC) is the primary source of data for this project. If your district is reporting course offerings in the MCCC, those will be reflected in the online resource. If you are not yet completing this mandatory reporting, here are some tips:

  • Report all your courses, including arts courses, in the Common Course Catalog, as required by law.
  • STAR reporting is NOT the same thing. The Common Course Catalog is a separate reporting system for all courses, including the arts.
  • The reporting window for 2019-2020 opened on April 6th, 2020 and ends December 11th, 2020.
  • Allow enough time to ease into the report and match each course with the best course description in the Common Course Catalog. Be sure that someone knowledgeable about course content assigns the course description.
  • Contact Karen Millette,, with questions or for assistance.

Much more information can be found at, including info about each school in Minnesota.