New Developments for Arts Education

From the “Americans for the Arts”

With a recent budget victory, high visibility on Capitol Hill, and three new arts education reports being released, arts education advocates are gathering momentum to impact education policy nationally.

On April 15, Congress and the president approved the FY 2011 appropriations bill which included restoration of the federal Arts In Education program – the only education program to be restored from being cut or terminated earlier in the year. This is a huge victory!  This was directly following a successful grassroots advocacy campaign by 550 advocates from across the country who joined actors Alec Baldwin, Hill Harper, Kerry Washington, and Kevin Spacey during the national Arts Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill to support the arts and arts education.

Last week, Americans for the Arts published its National Arts Policy Roundtable final report which captures the recommendations from an event co-convened at the Sundance Preserve by President and CEO of Americans for the Arts Robert L. Lynch, and Robert Redford, founder of the Sundance Institute.  Officials from both the U.S. Department of Education and the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities participated in the National Arts Policy Roundtable. The report identifies four key recommendations, including the need for increased research, strong public policy support, and better casemaking efforts from the field.

These recommendations arrive at an important time. The chairmen of the House and Senate education committees in Congress have promised action soon on the reauthorization of the Elementary & Secondary Education Act (also known as No Child Left Behind). Most immediately, the need for increased federal research cited in the National Arts Policy Roundtable recommendations will be answered, in part, by two new federal studies being released this week:

Today, the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics is  releasing the preview of a study on the national status and condition of arts education — it has been almost a decade since the last one was published!  The full study is scheduled to be released by the end of 2011 and will be a key measurement of access to arts education.

Later this week, the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities is set to release their study    “Reinvesting in Arts Education: Winning America’s Future Through Creative Schools” which will promote successful arts education models and best practices as identified by this committee appointed by President Obama and chaired by the First Lady.

The momentum that has been built by recent advocacy on Capitol Hill and the boost from these national studies will serve the arts education field well as Congress considers education reforms later this year.

If you are interested in becoming an official member of the Arts Action Fund, join the Arts Action Fund today — it’s free and simple.