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.