Music education news

February 12, 2014

Federal Funding Intact for NEA, Arts Ed

Funding for the National Endowment for the Arts and for the Arts in Education program at the U.S.Department of Education survived the roller coaster ride that was the Fiscal Year 2014 appropriations process, navigating drastic proposals to slash and eliminate funding, the government shutdown, and final budget negotiations to ultimately be restored to their pre-sequester funding levels. Last year, 100 orchestras across the country served their communities with support from direct NEA grants, in addition to NEA funding awarded through state arts agencies. The Arts in Education program – the only dedicated form of support for arts learning at the U.S. Department of Education – will continue the important work of funding model learning programs and professional development for arts educators, with new application opportunities to be announced soon. Your ongoing advocacy will be key in the coming year as Congress considers FY15 funding levels.

January 15, 2014

Arts Education Wins Support in Spending Deal

Funding for the Arts in Education Programs of the U.S. Department of Education is restored to 2012 levels in a spending package negotiated by House and Senate leaders! Three and a half months after the 2014 fiscal year began, Congress is close to settling on a massive spending bill that includes $25 million to fund national models that improve arts learning in schools.

Support for the arts and creativity has weathered extreme challenges throughout the troubled FY14 funding battles on the Hill. House funding leaders recommended complete elimination of the Arts in Education program. Thanks to your advocacy efforts, and the proven impact of the federal investment in the arts in communities large and small nationwide, the large-scale bundle of spending bills that fund the federal government preserves funding and restores the 5% cut the Arts in Education program suffered under sequestration in FY13.

The League is a leading advocate for federal support for the arts among a broad network of national advocacy partners, and we will keep you posted as the FY14 funding process is finalized in the days ahead. Congress will then immediately turn attention to next year’s spending priorities, and your voice in support of arts education will once again be essential!

January 8, 2014

Arts Education for America’s Students: A Shared Endeavor

The League, in partnership with 12 national arts and education organizations, has released Arts Education for America’s Students, A Shared Endeavor, a statement outlining the importance of high quality arts education and those responsible for providing it to students. A Shared Endeavor articulates the purpose and value of art education in the balanced curriculum of all students, asserts its place as a core academic subject area, and details how sequential arts learning can be supported by rigorous national standards and assessments. The statement, created over a 12-month period by the endorsing organizations, calls on organizations and individuals to actively support and promote:   

  • Policies and resources for arts education.
  • Access to arts education for all students.
  • Collaboration between school-based arts educators, other subject area teachers, community-based artists, and arts educators.
  • Long-term advocacy partnership between all providers of arts education.  

We encourage you to read this document and its companion diagram that places students at the center of arts education and consider it a tool to help prompt dialogue and engagement with community arts education leaders in a conversation about how students in your community access arts education, beginning with these questions:

  • Do students have access to arts education in your community’s schools?
  • How do community-based arts educators, including your orchestra, connect with learning taking place in your community’s schools?
  • How do teachers connect the learning in their classrooms to learning in the arts? How can you support them in that endeavor?
  • Where do you have strong supports for arts education at your school? What does your state require your schools to do?

September 4, 2013

Tick-Tock: Fall Countdown on Policy Concerns

With summer coming to a close, Congress is returning to a packed policy agenda, including an array of issues that impact the arts and the nonprofit sector. Thanks to all in the orchestra community who connected with policymakers while they were home for the August recess. There are plenty more advocacy opportunities ahead:

  • Education: National Arts in Education Week is September 8-14, 2013. In D.C., the League continues to meet with policymakers to urge support for arts education as Congress re-writes the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, as well as in specific program funding at the U.S. Department of Education. At home, you can make a difference by taking local action and speaking up in support of in-school music education.

July 17, 2013

Full House to Act on Education Policy

As early as this week, the full U.S. House of Representatives will begin debating legislation to re-write the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), currently known as No Child Left Behind. The current education law expired in 2007, and while the highly partisan approach unfolding in both the House and Senate does not bode well for rapid final passage of a new law, upcoming action on the House floor represents the most significant movement to-date on re-writing our nation’s education policy.  

The original intention of ESEA is to address equity gaps in education, and the League is an active advocate at the federal level in support of improving access to arts education in our nation’s schools. The League recently sent a message to the Hill in coalition with the Performing Arts Alliance supporting specific provisions in Rep. George Miller’s (D-CA) ESEA proposal that would improve federal resources for arts education and incentivize states and localities to do more to support arts learning. As the House prepares for floor debate, we will keep you informed of targeted advocacy opportunities. In the meantime, your orchestra can weigh in using our ongoing e-advocacy campaign to speak up in support of arts policy in ESEA.

Arts in Education Funding Advances in the Senate 

Last week, the Senate Appropriations Committee moved forward a recommendation for $27 million in FY14 funding for the Arts in Education program at the U.S. Department of Education. Ongoing leadership by education appropriations subcommittee Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA) and other Senate supporters has preserved Arts in Education funding over the past several years, despite the program’s elimination in the House and Obama Administration’s budget plans. The U.S. Department of Education will soon announce a new round of multi-year grant awards made possible through Arts in Education funds. Visit our e-advocacy campaign to weigh in with Congress in support of Arts in Education funding

Take Action in Your Community!

The most effective music education advocacy takes place at the local level, where the majority of education policy is made. The League provides numerous music education advocacy tools, including tips for orchestras, highlights from the most recent research, and news about national coalition efforts. Read our latest call for local action “Enough is Not Enough” and join the growing ranks of orchestras committed to taking action to support arts education in local schools. 

April 12, 2013

Arts Ed Down in White House Budget

Arts in Education Funding: For the fifth consecutive year, the President’s budget proposes consolidating the Arts in Education program into a new, broader funding pool titled “Effecting Teaching and Learning for a Well-Rounded Education.” This program seeks to combine support for “the arts, health education, foreign languages, civics and government, history, geography, environmental education, economics and financial literacy, and other subjects,” eliminating direct competition and federal leadership for each subject independently. With each year, the proposed total funding for the consolidated “Effective Teaching and Learning for a Well-Rounded Education” program has decreased and the FY14 request from the White House is a mere $75 million to be shared by all of the subjects. In prior years, the proposal has not been adopted on the Hill, and in spite of the elimination of many other programs, Congress has protected the Arts in Education fund as a distinct program at nearly $25 million. Orchestras are asking Congress to provide $30 million to support the Arts in Education program at the U.S. Department of Education.

Early Childhood Education and the Arts

Everyone is talking about Pre-K, which received special attention in the President's State of the Union Address in February as he previewed a new Preschool for All initiative. There's an important role for the arts in early childhood development. Check out next week's webinar with the NEA Interagency Task Force on the Arts & Human Development. The free webinar will be held at 2pm EDT on Wednesday, April 17th. Interested participants can register online or check back at several days later for the archive.

March 12, 2013

Sequestration and the Arts

What do the messy debates in Washington over spending limits and across-the-board 5% cuts to domestic spending mean for your orchestra? 

If your orchestra partners with public schools, be aware that the cut to domestic spending will impact the federal resources that flow to support public education programs and can also impact direct funding of the Arts in Education program of the U.S. Department of Education. Strengthen your orchestra’s local, community-based advocacy efforts to seek greater access to arts education in public schools.

July 9, 2012

Bracing for NEA and Arts Ed Funding Outcomes

The upcoming elections and debates over automatic spending cuts have thrown the federal funding process into a tailspin. While certain steps of the budget process have begun, ongoing advocacy to protect arts resources from cuts will likely be needed through November and beyond.

Arts education funding took a positive step forward in mid-June when the Senate Appropriations committee approved an FY13 bill including $26.5 million for the U.S. Department of Education’s Arts in Education program, an increase of $1.5 million from last year’s allocation. This level of funding would allow the U.S. Department of Education to continue funding multi-year arts education grants that are in progress. 

Stay tuned to the League for the latest funding news and alerts .

Now Available: Toolkit on Arts Access in U.S. Schools (2009-10 FRSS)

The League has played a national leadership role in creating a new toolkit on Arts Access in U.S. Schools to support your local in-school music education advocacy efforts. This past April, the U.S. Department of Education released the first national snapshot on the status of arts education in ten years - the Fast Response Statistical Survey's (FRSS) Report on Arts Education, which indicated clear equity gaps in student access to a quality arts education in all arts disciplines. While the report does not provide a complete picture of the status of arts education, it includes helpful information that should prompt advocacy for arts education programs across the country as schools struggle in the wake of the recession and high-stakes accountability demands for reading and math outcomes.

The report shows that schools with a higher concentration of students in poverty were less likely to offer music education and, among elementary schools offering music education, the presence of music specialists declines as the school's poverty rate increases. To help orchestras and the broader arts community understand and communicate about the national results, the League partnered with other national organizations to create a toolkit, which should help you leverage the results to advance a policy conversation about the status of arts education in your local schools. As always, music education advocates can find a host of additional resources within the League's music education advocacy tools to learn what steps you can take at the local level to advance the status of arts education in public schools.

April 2, 2012

Arts Education Status Report Released: Equity Gaps Remain

This morning, the U.S. Department of Education released the long-awaited results of the Fast Response Statistical Survey’s (FRSS) Report on Arts Education, based on data gathered in the 2009-2010 school year. The arts education community – and the League in particular – has long called for federal data collection to be more comprehensive in scope and depth and that data be collected more frequently. While the FRSS report does not provide a complete picture of the status of arts education, it does provide some valuable new information and an opportunity to provoke a public conversation about arts education. A few key findings:

  • More than 90% of our nation’s public elementary and secondary schools offer some form of music instruction. At the elementary level, that includes a majority of students receiving music instruction at least once a week by a certified art or music teacher. This is a strong testament to effective advocacy for arts education programs across the country during the onset of the recession and in the wake of reading and math accountability demands on public schools.

  • Although music is widely available in some form, six percent of the nation’s public elementary schools offer no specific instruction in music, nine percent of public secondary schools reported that they did not offer music, and only 15 percent of elementary schools offered music instruction at least three times per week.

  • It is clear that there are critical equity gaps in student access to a quality arts education in all arts disciplines. These gaps must be addressed if students are to have access to a complete education. The FRSS report shows that the percentage of schools offering music education declines as the percentage of students eligible for free or reduced-price lunch increases. In other words, schools with a higher concentration of students in poverty were less likely to offer music education. Likewise, among elementary schools offering music education, the presence of music specialists declines as the school’s poverty rate increases. This is sobering news, just as a separate new report from the National Endowment for the Arts underscores the significant academic, workforce, and civic engagement gains associated with high levels of arts exposure for youth of lower socioeconomic status.

The League has been working with its national partners to create a toolkit to help orchestras and the broader arts community understand and communicate about the Snapshot FRSS results and will make these tools available online soon. In the meantime, find the full report online and view the League's music education advocacy tools to learn what kind of steps you can take at the local level to advance the status of arts education in public schools.
 

February 14, 2012

The Year Ahead and the President’s New Budget Proposal

Yesterday the President announced his newest budget plan, which seeks to meet the mandate of deficit reduction through a combination of strategic revenue measures and funding allocations. Below are the highlights of the tax and spending policies that impact orchestras and the broader arts and nonprofit communities. While the many distractions of the election cycle will slow - if not altogether thwart – progress on major budget decisions and tax reform, the President’s budget request sets the tone for the Congressional action to come.

Arts in Education Funding : The President’s budget again proposes consolidating the Arts in Education program into a new, broader funding pool entitled “Effective Teaching and Learning for a Well-Rounded Education.” Communities representing a wide array of subjects of learning that would be consolidated are in opposition to the proposal, as it would diminish direct competition and federal leadership for each of these essential subjects of learning. Congress has protected Arts in Education funding, despite eliminating many other programs over the past two years. Orchestras are asking Congress to provide $30 million to support the Arts in Education program at the U.S. Department of Education.Your Advocacy is Essential

As the coming months unfold, Congress will take action on numerous policies impacting orchestras – your advocacy will be essential! Whether it’s wireless microphone policies, artist visa issues, or major tax and spending decisions, the League has prepared advocacy materials to make it easy for you to make your voice heard, in partnership with the extended arts and nonprofit communities. Please visit our advocacy center and weigh in on the full range of policy issues that impact your orchestra. Now is the time to develop a dialogue with your members of Congress. As always, we will keep you posted about key policy developments.

December 28, 2011

President Signs FY12 Funding Bill

Arts in Education
Also experiencing a tumultuous appropriations cycle, the Arts in Education program has weathered significant challenges, and is one of very few programs to survive multiple proposals to eliminate subject-specific funding programs at the U.S. Department of Education. The Arts in Education program ultimately received $24.593 million in FY12 to administer and support competitive grants and national initiatives at the U.S. Department of Education, a decrease from the $27.447 million administered by the Department in FY11. FY12 funding may offer the possibility of a new round of grant competitions in the Arts in Education Model Development and Dissemination Program, but details remain to be seen. The League will keep you updated as more information and possible grant opportunities become available.

Thank you for your ongoing advocacy in support of the arts. The extremely challenging federal budget climate will continue into 2012, and your communication with Congress will be essential. Please continue to stay tuned to League advocacy updates and alerts!

June 14, 2011

 

Tell Your Representative to Support Arts in Education!

Contact Congress and ask your Representative to protect Arts in Education when the House considers HR 1891, a bill that would eliminate the Arts in Education program at the U.S. Department of Education, along with 42 other federal education programs. In the coming weeks, the U.S. House of Representatives will take up a first attempt at re-writing part of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), also known as the No Child Left Behind Act. Speak up in defense of the Arts in Education program!
The lead sponsor of HR 1891, Education Subcommittee Chairman Duncan Hunter (R-CA), has called the Arts in Education program “unnecessary.” This bill, which the House Education and Workforce Committee passed along party lines on May 25th, is even more serious a threat than the annual federal funding measures, as HR 1891 would permanently strip the language out of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act that allows the Arts in Education program to be funded each year.

The Arts in Education (AIE) program at the U.S. Department of Education is the ONLY source of dedicated federal education funding to support arts education, a core academic subject of learning proven to improve schools, teaching, and student success in school, work, and life. The unique federal leadership provided through direct competitive AIE grants and national initiatives cannot be replaced by any other funding source and provides essential resources to maximize the benefits of arts education for all students. The arts have too often been shoved to the margins when our schools need them most. Don’t let HR 1891 further narrow the educational opportunities of our nation’s students.

Act now, and stay tuned as the League keeps you informed of further arts education policy developments.

CONTACT CONGRESS TODAY!

May 23, 2011

Act Now to Support Arts Education!

This Wednesday May 25, the U.S. House Education and Workforce Committee will vote on a bill (HR 1891) that would eliminate the Arts in Education program at the U.S. Department of Education, along with 42 other federal education programs.  The lead sponsor of the bill, Education Subcommittee Chairman Duncan Hunter (R-CA), calls the Arts in Education program “unnecessary.”  This bill is even more serious a threat than the annual federal funding measures, as HR 1891 would permanently strip the language out of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) that allows the Arts in Education program to be funded each year.

The Arts in Education (AIE) program at the U.S. Department of Education is the ONLY source of dedicated federal education funding to support arts education, a core academic subject of learning proven to improve schools, teaching, and student success in school, work, and life.  The unique federal leadership provided through direct competitive AIE grants and national initiatives cannot be replaced by any other funding source and provides essential resources to maximize the benefits of arts education for all students. The arts have too often been shoved to the margins when our schools need them most.  Don’t let HR 1891 further narrow the educational opportunities of our nation’s students.

A targeted advocacy alert was sent to constituents of the following Members of the House Education and Workforce Committee:

  • John Kline, Chair (R-MN-2)
  • Tom Petri (R-WI-6)
  • Howard P. "Buck" McKeon (R-CA-25)
  • Judy Biggert (R-IL-13)
  • Todd Platts (R-PA-19)
  • Joe Wilson (R-SC-02)
  • Virginia Foxx (R-NC-05)
  • Duncan Hunter (R-CA-52)
  • Phil Roe (R-TN-01)
  • Glenn Thompson (R-PA-05)
  • Tim Walberg (R-MI-07)
  • Scott DesJarlais (R-TN-04)
  • Richard Hanna (R-NY-24)
  • Todd Rokita (R-IN-04)
  • Larry Bucshon (R-IN-08)
  • Trey Gowdy (R-SC-4)
  • Lou Barletta (R-PA-11)
  • Kristi Noem (R-SD-At large)
  • Martha Roby (R-AL-2)
  • Joe Heck (R-NV-03)
  • Dennis Ross (R-FL-12)
  • Mike Kelly (R-PA-3)
  • George Miller, Ranking Member (D-CA-7)
  • Dale Kildee (D-MI-5)
  • Donald Payne (D-NJ-10)
  • Robert Andrews     (D-NJ-01)
  • Bobby Scott (D-VA-03)
  • Lynn Woolsey (D-CA-06)
  • Rubén Hinojosa (D-TX-15)
  • Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY-04)
  • John Tierney (D-MA-06)
  • Dennis Kucinich (D-OH-10)
  • David Wu (D-OR-01)
  • Rush Holt (D-NJ-12)
  • Susan Davis (D-CA-53)
  • Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ-07)
  • Timothy Bishop (D-NY-01)
  • Dave Loebsack (D-IA-02)
  • Mazie Hirono (D-HI-02) 

April 12, 2011

The FY11 Budget Deal: What Does it Mean for the Arts?

At the eleventh hour last Friday, Congressional leaders struck an FY11 budget compromise to avoid a government shutdown, which includes $155 million for the National Endowment for the Arts and $25.5 million for the Arts in Education programs at the U.S. Department of Education. The agreement finalizes the rest of FY11 funding, and votes will take place in the House tomorrow, with Senate action to follow before week's end.

Thanks to your advocacy, Congress has restored a portion of the Arts in Education funding and protected the NEA from more drastic cuts.

Arts in Education: On March 2, 2011 both the House and Senate agreed to eliminate a number of small education programs at the U.S. Department of Education, including the complete defunding of the Arts in Education program, a $40 million fund that supports competitive grants and national initiatives. The final funding bill includes $25.5 million for the Arts in Education fund - enough to continue the next year of funding for multi-year grants currently in progress, with $10 million available for additional arts education expenditures.

In a climate of historic budget slashing, the partial restoration of Arts in Education funding is a true victory, thanks in large part to the leadership of Senators Thad Cochran (R-MS) and Tom Harkin (D-IA) and the efforts of grassroots advocates who quickly mobilized to tell their stories about the value of arts education.

Please stay tuned! As soon as the final FY11 spending levels are passed, our attention must turn to building support for arts funding in the FY12 budget process.

March 2, 2011

Latest Spending Bill Eliminates Arts in Education Funds; NEA Budget Remains in Jeopardy

Tell Congress that eliminating arts education is a budget cut we simply can't afford. Arts in Education funds at the U.S. Department of Education were eliminated today when Congress passed a short-term spending bill that will keep the federal government open as final negotiations over all FY11 funding continue. The cuts in the short-term spending bill would eliminate Arts in Education funding for the entire 2011 fiscal year if Congress does not restore the fund in future FY11 bills. Today's short-term funding package omitted a number of smaller education programs - part of a "down payment" on further overall federal funding cuts to come.

It's not too late to rescue FY11 funding for Arts in Education and the National Endowment for the Arts! Your advocacy is essential as the House and Senate now use the next two weeks to continue setting their priorities for funding the federal government for the remainder of the current fiscal year. Contact Congress today to urge the following:

  • Reinstate the Arts in Education program at the U.S. Department of Education, which provides vital federal leadership and funding that improves schools, teaching, and student learning.Cuts to this program will take away funding for multi-year programs that are already in progress!
  • Restore FY11 funding for the National Endowment for the Arts, which was cut by 26% in the long-term FY11 funding bill passed by the House.

USE OUR EASY E-ADVOCACY TOOL TODAY! >>

September 14, 2010

Take Action During Arts in Education Week
 
Washington, D.C. - Join with arts advocates throughout the country to raise your voice during Arts in Education Week, September 12-18, 2010. The U.S. House of Representatives has designated the second week of September as national Arts in Education Week, beginning this year. This is an opportunity for orchestras to step up year-round advocacy efforts and to ask their Members of Congress to enact policy reforms that will improve access to a complete arts education for all students. 
 
Ask Congress to Support Arts Education
 
The League plays a leading role along with a broad range of national arts and education organizations, including the Performing Arts Alliance, in seeking major improvements for arts in education programs, research, policies, and national data collection at the U.S. Department of Education. Together, the arts community has written federal legislative recommendations and a national policy statement, Arts Education: Creating Student Success in School, Work, and Life, explaining how the arts can improve teaching and learning. As Congress moves toward reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) and makes annual funding decisions, it is more important than ever not only to keep arts education as a core academic subject of learning, but to actually implement it as one.

Contact Congress Today! 
 
Orchestras Play Their Part At Home
 
The majority of key education policy decisions are made at the state and local level. Speak up in your community during Arts in Education Week and year-round to improve the status of arts education. More than 200 orchestras nationwide have endorsed a statement of common cause, Orchestras Support In-School Music Education, which reflects their commitment to take individual, community-specific action to improve access to music education in schools. View the statement and accompanying advocacy tips and tools to help make the case for improving access to music education for every child.

Join in Supporting Arts Education In Our Schools

August 19, 2010

The U.S. House of Representatives has just created an annual September Arts in Education Week, which this year will be September 12th-18th. This is an opportunity for orchestras to amplify their ongoing national and local advocacy efforts to advance arts education as a core academic subject in our schools. The League will be working with our partner organizations to create visibility for this national advocacy effort. We realize it is short notice this year, but here are a few suggestions for how you can help in your community:

1. Check with teachers, PTA leaders, school board members, and other school leaders to learn how your orchestra can support arts education in your schools.

2. Seek opportunities for leaders of your orchestra (music director, musicians, executive director, board leaders, and others) to speak on behalf of in-school music education in the local press, at school board meetings, and in other public settings.

3.
Review (and sign onto!) the League’s statement of common cause, Orchestras Support In-School Music Education. We will be publically promoting this statement during Arts in Education Week – you won’t want your orchestra to be left off the list of more than 200 orchestras that have signed on!

Thanks for helping! For more information about Arts in Education Week, go to the Arts Education Partnership’s special site at http://www.aep-arts.org/artsineducationweek.html.

 

January 26, 2010

Arts in Education Grants Available at U.S. Dept. of Education
 
A small but important pool of funding is available at the U.S. Department of Education to support arts education in our nation's schools. The U.S. Department of Education's Arts in Education Model Development and Dissemination Program (AEMDD) is currently accepting applications for FY10 awards. These highly competitive grants enable schools and organizations to integrate standards-based arts education into elementary and middle school curricula and improve students' academic performance. Eligible programs must be administered in partnership with a local education agency and can be up to four years in duration, with the first year used to plan an imbedded evaluation process.

At least five previous AEMDD awards have supported school-based collaborations with orchestras, including the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra, Houston Symphony, Rockford Symphony Orchestra, Tucson Symphony Orchestra, and the Brooklyn Philharmonic. The deadline for Notice of Intent to Apply is February 16, 2010 and the deadline for applications is March 16, 2010.

Learn More About USED Grants 

December 21, 2009

NEA and Arts Education Funding Increase

Congress has set the FY2010 funding levels for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the Arts in Education programs at the U.S. Department of Education, including increases in funding for both accounts.

Arts in Education funding at the U.S. Department of Education pdf increased by $2 million for FY10. The increase in funding provides for a new competitive grant round for the Model Development and Dissemination grant program. Stay tuned for further information as the guidelines for this highly competitive application process become available.

August 20, 2009

Secretary Duncan Voices Support for Arts Education

This is the moment to make the case for arts education in your community! Your orchestra and arts advocates nationwide have some fresh talking points to leverage, courtesy of U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. Three sources provide valuable quotes endorsing the legitimacy of the arts as a core academic subject of learning:

  • An August pdf letter from Secretary Duncan to school leaders emphasizes that the arts are a core subject of learning and that states and localities can use federal funds to support the arts.
  • Remarks by Duncan in an August 18 teleconference sponsored by NAMM and Supportmusic.com confirm that arts education can help meet national education goals of closing the achievement gap and raising the bar on student and school performance.
  • On the occasion of the June release of the Nation's Arts Report Card, Secretary Duncan said, "We can and should do better for America's students."

As students in your community head back to school, gear up to advocate for music education. Check out our Music Education Advocacy Tools, read our tips for launching your advocacy effort, and make sure your orchestra has endorsed the League Statement of Common Cause in support of in-school music education!

August 14, 2009

As states and local school districts define education priorities in this challenging economic climate, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has issued a pdf statement emphasizing the importance of arts education for every child.

The letter can be a useful tool when communicating with local and state policy leaders regarding funding for arts education. The statement clearly emphasizes that, under federal law, the arts are a core academic subject of learning, and that states and localities can use federal funds to support arts education opportunities for all learners.

The NAMM Foundation and the SupportMusic Coalition, of which the League is a member, will host a live discussion with Secretary Duncan next Tuesday, moderated by Mary Luehrsen, Director of Public Affairs and Government Relations for NAMM. Your participation is needed to help demonstrate your concern and highlight the need for all children to have access to the arts as part of a complete and quality education.

Date: Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Time: 1 PM Eastern, 12 Noon Central, 11 AM Mountain, 10 AM Pacific

We encourage you to forward this invitation to your local school and community leaders and urge their participation in the call.

Registration for the conference call stream is available online now and up to 15 minutes prior to the event. Secretary Duncan will join the call promptly at 1 p.m. ET on August 18th. 

Register for the Call Today!

June 15, 2009

Today, for the first time in more than a decade, the U.S. Department of Education announced the results of the 2008 Nation's Arts Report Card, detailing how much eighth-grade students know and are able to do in music and the visual arts. The results, officially known as the 2008 National Assessment of Educational Progress in the Arts (NAEP) reveal barriers to student achievement in the arts, with significant racial/ethnic, gender, and socioeconomic gaps. The results elicited the most direct and supportive statement from the federal government regarding arts education in recent years. In response to the results, the Secretary of Education and senior officials at the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Assessment Governing Board all called for substantially increasing access to arts learning and significantly improving the quality of national data collection on the status of arts education in the nation's schools.

Read the full article

March 13, 2009 

Obama Calls for Creativity and Innovation in Education Plan 

In March 10 remarks announcing his education policy plan, President Obama said, "It's time to give all Americans a complete and competitive education from the cradle up through a career." The plan emphasizes early childhood education, performance pay for teachers, local school innovation, and lifelong learning opportunities. Orchestras, as local partners in strengthening arts education in the schools, have been calling for national, state, and local policies that ensure that every student has access to a complete education - one that includes comprehensive education in the arts.

While the plan does not specify arts education proposals, President Obama acknowledged the role that creativity will play in preparing students for a 21st century workforce, saying "I'm calling on our nation's governors and state education chiefs to develop standards and assessments that don't simply measure whether students can fill in a bubble on a test, but whether they possess 21st century skills like problem-solving and critical thinking and entrepreneurship and creativity." The plan also calls for doubling funding for afterschool programs , which have often provided opportunities for orchestras and other community organizations to partner with schools. Throughout this year, Congress and the White House will continue to work on the multi-year process of re-writing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (known as No Child Left Behind).

See How You Can Weigh In 

Congress Approves FY09 Increase for Arts Education

The FY09 omnibus bill included a $633,000 increase in funding for the competitive Arts in Education grant programs of the U.S. Department of Education. Despite the proposal of the past administration to eliminate Arts in Education spending, along with a number of smaller education programs, Congress acted once again to support arts education by approving $38.166 million for Arts in Education spending. A pdf recent study released by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) finds significant declines in arts education for minority and low-income students and calls for further research by the U.S. Department of Education to discover the status of arts education in our nation's schools.

Learn More About Arts Education Funding

July 15, 2008

House Appropriations Includes Arts Education Funding for FY09

The House Appropriations Subcommittee has approved $38.6 million for Arts Education at the U.S. Department of Education - only the second time in the past eight years that the House has included any funding for the Arts in Education programs. As with NEA funding, the most likely scenario for arts education spending is steady funding at last year's level until Congress re-considers federal funding in early 2009.

View Arts in Education Funding History

February 1, 2008

Voters Value the Imagination

A new national poll of 1,000 likely voters finds that, "30% of American voters are not only dissatisfied with public education's narrow focus on the ‘so-called' basics but that they also believe developing the imagination is a critical, but missing, ingredient to student success in 21st century schools and moving students beyond average." The pollsters say that this voting cohort - which is being called the "Imagine Nation" - is of a scale rivaling "soccer moms."  This powerful affirmation of public support for arts education can be leveraged as orchestras act to strengthen the presence of music education in the schools.

Learn More about the Imagine Nation

The U.S. Department of Education announces two grant programs currently accepting applications. 

The Professional Development for Arts Educators Program supports the implementation of high-quality professional development model programs in K-12 education for music, dance, drama, media arts, or visual arts educators. The deadline for Notice of Intent to Apply is February 11, 2008 and the deadline for transmittal of applications is February 29, 2008.

The Arts in Education Model Development and Dissemination Program is designed to enable schools and organizations to develop and disseminate comprehensive approaches for integrating the arts into elementary and middle school curricula, strengthening arts instruction in these grade levels, and improving students’ academic performance.  The deadline for Notice of Intent to Apply is February 13, 2008 and the deadline for transmittal of applications is March 14, 2008.

Learn More about U.S. Department of Education funding opportunities 

December 19, 2007

Arts Ed Advances; Survey Fully Funded

What is the status of arts education in our nation’s schools?  After nearly 10 years without comprehensive national data, Congress has approved more than $2 million in funding to support a fast-response arts education survey in the 08-09 school year.  Orchestras and other arts advocates rallied behind this request for data collection

Congress also approved near-level funding for the competitive Arts in Education grant programs of the U.S. Department of Education, following an across-the-board cut to all of the Department's programs.  Despite the President’s proposal to eliminate Arts in Education spending, along with a number of smaller education programs, Congress acted to approve a total of $37.5 million in Arts in Education spending for FY08.

 pdf View the Funding Details

November 20, 2007 

NEA and Education Funding Stalled

Potential historic increases in funding for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and Arts Education are in jeopardy as Congress and the White House face off over total spending for the current fiscal year.  On November 13, the President vetoed the Labor-HHS-Education funding bill, which included unprecedented support for arts education funding and would have fully funded long-awaited research on the status of arts education in our nation's schools.  Only one of the 12 federal FY08 spending measures - the Defense bill - has been signed into law.  Congress may craft a catch-all spending bill in December, but holding on to the gains in arts funding will be tough as Washington policymakers whittle away at all proposed increases in domestic spending. 

pdf See the Progress on Arts Education 31.86 Kb

September 27, 2007 

New Proposals to Strengthen Arts Education

While the most important advocacy for arts education in our schools often happens at the local and state levels, improving the federal education laws can open the door to improved policies nationwide. As Congress begins to re-consider the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) and writes the newest version of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), the arts community is calling for specific improvements to the law that determines how the federal government supports education.  The League, in partnership with more than 20 national arts and education organizations, is calling on Congress to improve access to arts education for all students by enacting specific legislative recommendations. The process of re-considering NCLB will be a multi-year effort. Stay tuned for targeted opportunities to weigh in with your members of Congress.

See How Congress Can Boost Arts Learning

April 27, 2007

House Letter Supports Increased Funding

A letter to House Appropriations Chairman David Obey was signed by 71 members of Congress urging support for increased Arts in Education funding. 

pdf View the Letter 3.16 Mb