The goal of this research was to collect data on existing dance programs and activities in Pennsylvania charter schools, and to advocate for the presence of dance in school arts offerings for academic credit, creating parity among the four core arts disciplines of visual arts, music, theater, and dance. The researcher developed three essential questions to guide this research:
Q1 What dance education programs currently exist in Pennsylvania charter schools, and what certifications are held by dance educators in these schools?
Q2 What obstacles, other than the teacher certification process, are preventing schools from hiring dance specialists and implementing dance programs for academic credit?
Q3 How can dance educators overcome these obstacles and advocate for dance courses to be offered for academic credit, creating true parity among the core arts disciplines?
Data were collected from December 2021 through April 2022 via an online survey of administrators and educators at 179 Pennsylvania Charter Schools operating during the 2021–2022 school year. The survey included both quantitative and qualitative questions, and received thirty-seven responses. Some limitations of the study were a small sample size of participants who completed the survey, as well as the fact that the timeline in which the research was being conducted ran parallel to some significant changes in legislation affecting dance teacher certification in the state.
The data suggested that although educators recognize valuable benefits of dance programming to student achievement, there are still only a small number of schools offering dance courses for academic credit. The data also revealed that school finances and budgets remain the largest influence on schools’ ability and willingness to offer dance alongside their other arts courses.
This research was intended to advocate for parity among the four core arts disciplines, and support the argument for Direct Path Dance Teacher Certification, which was signed into Pennsylvania legislation in July 2022. The findings of this research suggest that this new certification process will remove one of the existing obstacles to dance programs being implemented in Pennsylvania schools, and that there are educators and administrators in the state who are continuing to advocate for dance to be included in the state’s K-12 schools.
dance; education; advocacy; arts; Pennsylvania; K-12; school; charter; parity; core
Lynch, Donna, "Dance Education in Pennsylvania Charter Schools: Advocating for Parity Among the Core Arts Disciplines" (2022). Master's Theses. 253.