Take Action: New Opportunity to Support Arts Ed in ESEA

April 10, 2015

Beginning on April 14, the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions is scheduled to consider The Every Child Achieves Act, a bipartisan attempt at re-writing our nation's education law, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).

We are contacting you because you are a constituent of a Senator who serves on this key Senate Committee, and your elected official will be voting on a large number of amendments expected to be offered during Committee consideration.  Orchestras delivered more than 400 messages to the Senate on an earlier version of the bill.  Please take a moment to weigh in once more! Every communication counts and helps amplify our collective voice!
The new version of the Senate bill preserves the arts as a core academic subject of learning, but does not include specific support for after-school learning programs, nor for the Arts in Education grant program.  And, as the committee considers competing points of view on the appropriate approach to state accountability, we are urging more public transparency by states about the availability of arts education in schools. 
After all, to transition the arts from being merely listed as a core academic subject to being fully implemented in every school,  states must be publicly accountable for disparities in student access to the benefits of a complete arts education.

Please join your fellow arts advocates in reinforcing the following four points in a message to your Senator:

  • The arts are currently listed as a core academic subject in federal law. Any rewrite of ESEA must retain the arts in the definition of "core academic subjects," enabling access to critical federal resources that address inequalities and strengthen education.
  • Federal law should require transparency in how much or how little arts education is being offered to our nation's students. Collecting and publicly reporting the status and condition of arts education and other core academic subjects on an annual basis at the state level is critical to ensuring equitable access to a comprehensive education for all students.
  • Arts education must be supported in provisions relating to early childhood education, afterschool/out-of-school learning, teaching effectiveness, school turnaround, charter schools, and student assessment.
  • The U.S. Department of Education should continue to administer a direct, nationally funded competitive Arts in Education grant program that advances the capacity of the arts to strengthen learning and improve teaching.

Tell the Senate to Support Arts Education in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act!