Narric Rome

Last month, I wrote a post that described the work of the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee on a bill reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, last authorized as the No Child Left Behind Act of 2002.

Since that time, we have gathered new information through further examination of the bill text and through meetings with congressional staff.

It is unclear if there will be time for the bill to receive Senate floor consideration and additional amendments before Congress adjourns for the year, but this new information will still have an effect on the reauthorization movement:

Well Rounded Education Amendment

Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), along with co-sponsors Senators Murray (D-WA), Mikulski (D-MD), and Merkley (D-OR), introduced the Well Rounded Education Amendment which was approved by voice vote. While the amendment shares similar objectives to the Obama Administration “Blueprint” proposal — it is significantly different than that proposal in structure and effect.

The Senate language creates a single grant program through which states (with partners) can compete for funding to provide support to: arts, civics and government, economics, environmental education, financial literacy, foreign languages, geography, health education, history, physical education, and social studies. Read the rest of this entry »

U.S. Senate Proposal Provides Direction for Future of Arts Education

Posted by Narric Rome On October - 31 - 2011

Narric Rome

On October 19 and 20, after many years of inaction, the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee began marking up the Senate version of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) reauthorization bill (last reauthorized by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2002).

Americans for the Arts lobbied on several of these issues on behalf of its members and the legislation, as amended, has several items that are of interest to the arts education sector.

The bill offers new insights into the direction of federal education policy and how the arts can fit within it, including the following:

1) Arts education was retained as a “core academic subject” – ensuring that the arts maintains this designation is critical for eligibility to use federal funds locally.

2) The term “core academic subject” has been incorporated into far more programs than No Child Left Behind did. It now places core academic subjects, including the arts, as central to extended learning programs, “highly qualified teacher” qualifications, parental engagement programs, advanced placement and international baccalaureate programs, reading or language arts, and STEM initiatives. This is a giant leap from the diminutive position that “core academic subject” held in the No Child Left Behind Act. Read the rest of this entry »

Uniting the Arts & Career and Technical Education

Posted by Narric Rome On September - 16 - 2011

Narric Rome

I recently attended a meeting of national arts education advocates and leaders from the career and technical education (CTE) community. It was a meeting designed to explore the policy efforts of both communities and to see if there was mutual interest in launching an initiative together.

It was clear from the 90 minutes we met that, from a national perspective, there is significant and deep parallels to our work and a joint approach has great potential.

Here’s what we discovered:

1)    Same Federal Challenges – At the federal level, both the arts and CTE have undergone similar treatment at the hands of the federal government. Like the Arts in Education program at the U.S. Department of Education, the federal CTE program was zeroed out annually in the Bush Administration budget, but funded by Congress each year. CTE programs are consistently targeted for reduction or termination, as they were in the recent H.R.1 legislation earlier this spring.

The similarities extend into our approaches to reauthorizing the Elementary & Secondary Education Act – CTE advocates would like to see greater use of multiple measures in assessments (addressing the narrowing of the curriculum which impacts us both), the promotion of our curriculum as a way to reduce the dropout rate, and a expansion of state data systems to provide greater insight into gaps of service and access issues. Read the rest of this entry »

The Top 10 Ways to Support Arts Education

Posted by Kristen Engebretsen On August - 26 - 2011

Kristen Engebretsen

This week I got an email from someone concerned about the budget cuts to arts education and inquiring about what they could do to help keep the arts in schools.

In the spirit of my colleague Randy Cohen’s popular post (Top 10 Reasons to Support the Arts), I am presenting my own:

The Top 10 Ways to Support Arts Education

10. Volunteer your time, resources, skills: Many schools would appreciate your time as a chaperone, your skill as a teaching artist, or your donations of money, costumes, rehearsal space, etc.

9. Know the facts: Stay on top of current arts education research, trends, and news articles. Start with Reinvesting in Arts Education, which summarizes research on the topic. Use this data in your messaging when you speak to elected officials or school leaders.

8. Get involved politically: Tell your elected officials why arts education is important. Ask your members of Congress to keep the arts listed as a core subject during the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. Read the rest of this entry »

The Trickle-Down Effect of Federal Arts Education Policy

Posted by Narric Rome On August - 9 - 2011

Narric Rome

Not long into my tenure at the U.S. Department of Education during the Clinton administration, I came to understand the limits of what the federal government can do for K-12 education.

At the time, the department boosted funding to support the hiring of 100,000 new teachers and the launch of a new national afterschool initiative that is now a $1.1 billion program.

Arts teachers were among the 100,000 new hires and many of the programs embraced the arts. Federal investment had an important impact, but many arts education advocates would not rank these two accomplishments as major successes. Why? Because a new arts teacher and a new arts afterschool program did not appear in every school in every community.

We need to remember that the federal share in total education spending is only 11 cents on the dollar. The remaining funds come from state and local sources.

Which brings me to federal policy. Read the rest of this entry »

Federal Arts Education Program UPDATE

Posted by Gladstone Payton On May - 26 - 2011

Gladstone Payton

Yesterday, the House Education and Workforce Committee voted to approve HR 1891, the resolution sponsored by Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) that terminates the authorization of 43 U.S. Department of Education programs, including the Arts in Education program.

This bill marks the first attempt at reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), popularly know of late as “No Child Left Behind.” The Committee is promising to move several like pieces of legislation in the coming months toward remaking ESEA.

The Arts in Education program is invaluable to many communities across the country as it funds not only professional development opportunities for arts educators in high-poverty areas, but it also provides money to model programs that support “the enhancement, expansion, documentation, evaluation, and dissemination of innovative, cohesive models that demonstrate effectiveness in: integrating into and strengthening arts in the core elementary and middle school curricula; strengthening arts instruction in those grades; and improving students’ academic performance, including their skills in creating, performing, and responding to the arts.”  Read the rest of this entry »

Federal Arts Education Program In Danger, Again

Posted by Tim Mikulski On May - 24 - 2011

*For an update to this story, visit a newer post by Gladstone Payton.

Just 11 days ago, U.S. House Education Subcommittee Chairman Duncan Hunter (R-CA) introduced legislation (H.R. 1891) that seeks to terminate 43 federal education programs, including the Arts in Education program at the U.S. Department of Education.

The bill is now coming up for a vote in the House Education Committee tomorrow.

This measure is more serious than the annual funding bills that have recently threatened to de-fund arts education, as HR 1891 would permanently strip policy language out of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) that allows the Arts in Education program to be funded annually.  Read the rest of this entry »