Although Congress quickly avoided a government shutdown this week, arts education funding somehow managed to get caught up in the two-week continuing resolution Band-Aid that was passed by both the House and Senate yesterday.
While the Continuing Resolution (CR) keeps the government running for another two weeks, it also makes a $4 billion cut in domestic spending, including a number of federal education programs.
Among the programs designated for cuts is the total elimination of funding for the Department of Education’s $40 million Arts in Education program. This program funds a large number of arts education activities across in the country, including the Kennedy Center’s arts education efforts and VSA, the international organization on arts and disability.
It is unclear at the moment of how a short-term CR might impact a program that currently has over 50 active multi-year grants in place around the country. However, this can be fixed in the upcoming long-term CR that Congress and the White House are currently negotiating.
It is vitally important that the arts community mobilizes to restore this important Arts in Education program, as well as restore the cuts previously made in the House to the National Endowment for the Arts, as the final FY 2011 CR budget is considered in the coming days.