What is At Stake
In December 2015, The Every Student Succeeds Act was signed into law, re-writing the federal education law known as “No Child Left Behind.” ESSA aims to provide all elementary and secondary students with fair and equal opportunities to achieve a high quality education, and within the law are several provisions ensuring that all students, including those in high poverty schools, have the opportunity to access arts education. One such provision is the inclusion of the arts in the definition of a “well-rounded education” with other academic subjects. This definition makes the arts eligible for federal funding for programs to support student success.
ESSA also includes the new Assistance for Arts Education (AAE) program at the U.S. Department of Education. This program continues the “Arts in Education” programs at the Dept. of Education which includes the Professional Development for Arts Educators grant program and the Arts Education Model Development and Dissemination program.
The Performing Arts Alliance works with Congress to both preserve federal funding for arts education and will work with lawmakers during the implementation of ESSA to ensure that the legislation’s provisions for arts education are maintained and funded.
What We Are Asking Right Now
We urge Congress to:
- Appropriate $30 million for the Assistance for Arts Education (AAE) programs in the FY 2017 Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill.
- Fully fund and implement the Well-Rounded Education provisions in the Every Student Succeeds Act.
- Make explicit the opportunity for the arts to help achieve Title I objectives.
- Thoroughly implement the professional development opportunities for arts educators and school leaders in the Student Support and Academic Enrichment grant program and STEM program eligibility for the arts.
- Require states to report annually on student access to, and participation in, the arts.
- Support the Creative Arts Expression framework in early childhood program implementation, and keep the arts in the definition of “Essential Domains of School Readiness” for pre-school grants.
- Improve the U.S. Department of Education’s national data collection regarding what students know and are able to do in the arts and the conditions for teaching and learning in arts education.
What You Can Do
Did you know that federal funding makes up only 10% of all national expenditures on education? That means that the remaining 90% of funding - and the vast majority of policy - comes from state, local, and private sources.
While APAP and the Performing Arts Alliance keeps you up-to-date on federal advocacy opportunities, remember that your advocacy at the state and local levels will make the critical difference in increasing support for arts education in your community. The most important education policy decisions are made at the local level, in your community, by your state legislators and school boards.
The best advocate for arts education is not the full-time lobbyist in Washington or the state capitol - it's you: the volunteer, the trustee, the artist, the staff member, the audience. Learn more and take action in the Performing Arts Alliance Arts Advocacy Issue Center.
Information provided by the Performing Arts Alliance.
APAP is a member of the Performing Arts Alliance.