Hey, arts advocates! Check out the following information and action alert from Americans for the Arts about upcoming education legislation. (And if you’d like to receive more information like this, check out how to stay engaged on their website.)
As the 114th Congress begins a new season of legislating, we are already deeply concerned about education legislation being considered. Two weeks ago, the new chairman of the Senate education committee released a “discussion draft” to consider changes to federal education policies. The last authorization, known as the No Child Left Behind Act, expired in 2007, so this legislation is long overdue.
However, the current draft bill contains a number of provisions that would be terrible for arts education should they become law. Among the problematic provisions, this bill:
1) Deletes the definition of “core academic subjects,” which includes the arts!
2) Terminates the $1 billion 21st Century Community Learning Center after-school program, which supports arts education;
3) Terminates the small, but mighty, federal Arts In Education program which has supported over 200 model grant programs for over a decade;
4) Omits indicators of student access to the arts as part of annual state reporting (example is New Jersey’s report) that help identify the equity gap.
One positive development so far is that there appears to be bipartisan consensus that there is an over-emphasis on student testing. This has been a growing concern in the education sector as arts education advocates have made the point for years that the class time spent on testing has pushed the arts out of the school day.
The Senate education committee has invited public comments and we have prepared a simple way to provide them with feedback from supporters of arts education. Please take two minutes and send a customizable message to the Senate education committee by the end of Monday, February 2nd.