ARTS: Make Your Voice Heard

This week both the House of Representatives and the Senate are expected to consider legislation to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) for the first time since Congress passed No Child Left Behind in 2001. ESEA sets federal policy for K-12 education and authorizes federal funding aimed at improving education opportunities for economically disadvantaged students. Inclusion of pro-arts education policy provisions in this legislation is vital to ensuring all students have access to the arts as part of their education. Therefore, The Creative Coalition urges all of its members to contact their Senators and members of Congress to ask them to support arts education as part of ESEA authorization. 

The Senate legislation, S.1177, the Every Child Achieves Act, includes strong language in support of the arts.  Not only does the Senate legislation include art as part of its definition of “core academic subjects,” but it expands the definition to include music. TCC strongly supports the expanded definition of “core academic subjects” included in the Senate bill.

The House legislation, H.R. 5, the Student Success Act, takes a different approach and does away with the concept of “core academic subjects.” Instead, H.R. 5 consolidates federal education programs into a new, single grant program that includes arts education as an eligible activity. Under this new grant program, it is important that ESEA ensure equitable access to arts and music learning so that resources are not shifted away from arts, music and other areas not measured on standardized tests.  The Creative Coalition strongly supports requiring states to report annually on student access to and participation in all subjects, including art, as well as requiring states to embed arts education standards in newly developed methods of measuring teacher and school effectiveness. 

Members of The Creative Coalition recognize the enormous benefits of a well-rounded education that includes visual arts, music and theater.  We know that arts train the creative mind and there are countless examples of successful people from all walks of life who benefited from their access to a robust arts curriculum. In order to create the next generation of renowned artists, innovative business leaders and pioneering scientists, we know that “it starts with the arts.” 

Please take a few moments out of your day to weigh in with policy makers and tell them to support strong arts education policies during the debate to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. 

You can find a link for your Senators here

You can find a link for your Representative here