BOE Makes Amendments to COMAR

On October 24, 2017 the Maryland State Board of Education unanimously voted to adopt proposed amendments to the Code of Maryland Regulations (COMAR) Title 13A State Board of Education Subtitle 04 Chapter 16 Programs in Fine Arts. The revisions are aligned to the following recommendations in The Governor’s P-20 Leadership Council Arts Education in Maryland Schools Members of the State Board of Education Final Report (2014):

Recommendation A: Revise the Code of Maryland Regulations (COMAR) to provide specific direction to local school systems in the consistent implementation of comprehensive fine arts programs in dance, music, theatre, and visual arts for all children at all grade levels.

Recommendation D: Revise the Maryland State Standards for Fine Arts Education.

Included in the regulation are revised Maryland Fine Arts Standards which now align with the National Core Arts Standards that focus on the artistic processes of creating, presenting, responding and connecting.

Notable changes in the regulation are:

1. The inclusion of prekindergarten in fine arts instruction.

2. The delineation of experiences in all art forms for students in prekindergarten – grade 5.

3. The ability for students in grades 6-8 to specialize in one or more art form.

4. The addition of Media Arts as the 5th art form as defined by the National Core Arts Standards.

5. The inclusion and formalization of the Fine Arts Education Advisory Panel to advise MSDE’s Superintendent on issues and best practices relevant to fine arts education.

This is the culmination of the collaboration of over one hundred arts education stakeholders from across the state with representation from all 24 school districts. Representatives from local school systems, arts organizations, higher education, arts administrators, arts educators and professional artists representing each of the fine arts disciplines: dance, media arts, music, theatre and visual art contributed to this outstanding work. All are to be commended for their constant commitment to ensure that 100 percent of Maryland’s students will participate in fine arts programs as part of a world class education that addresses the whole child.

The next phase of the process is the publication COMAR 13A.04.16 Programs in Fine Arts in the Maryland Register on November 13, 2017. It will become effective on November 23, 2017.