The Duality of Equity and Quality in American History: Through the Lens of Arts Education in Marginalized Communities in Chicago
Swims, Terence D.
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Examining the historical trajectory of American arts education exposes two intersectional themes: quality and equity. This research study addressed the need for equitable, quality arts programming in schools across America. The purpose of the study was to understand the equity and quality of arts programs in urban and marginalized communities in Chicago. The questions posed to address the problem were: “Is there a residual impact of past disproportionate educational experience still affecting students today? If so, what is the effect?”, “What are the characteristics of programming that determine quality for a preparatory arts education?” and “What are the characteristics of quality that determine an equitable experience for students in marginalized communities?” A review of literature provided foundational support for the researcher to examine the intersectionality of quality and equity in American education. Critical race theory and intersectionality was used to address the problem in the context of some historical racial events. The target population included artists from various art genres. The researcher used purposive sampling to select participants from a pool of musicians, as well as artists who specialize in the visual arts, graphic design, and photography, who have evidence of established careers and informed the research by sharing their experiences of how they were prepared for their careers in the arts while attending their schools in Chicago. A phenomenological design was chosen for this qualitative research study. The researcher conducted private, virtual, individual interviews with each participant. The interviews were recorded and transcribed into text data for analysis, which was then categorized and coded to explore key emergent themes. The researcher conducted this study to understand the quality of school arts programs and examine the practices of equity. The results of this study can be used to incite awareness of the issue and provide solutions that promote positive change in initiating more equitable and quality opportunities for the students in urban communities in Chicago.