Dear Arts Education Advocate:
U.S. House of Representatives is scheduled to consider on Friday three dozen amendments to “The Student Success Act” (HR 5), a bill to reauthorize federal education programs. This is a legislative effort last completed 13 years ago through the No Child Left Behind Act. There is a great need to improve upon that outdated legislation.
Through Friday’s floor consideration in the House, members of Congress will have an opportunity to vote on HR 5, and a Democratic alternative – but both bills are expected to receive partisan vote outcomes.
Americans for the Arts strongly prefers the Democratic legislative alternative, although there are a few elements of the GOP bill that would be advantageous for arts education, especially for teachers of music, dance, theater and the visual arts. In general, we are concerned that any reduction of federal leadership in supporting the arts as essential to a complete education is detrimental to addressing the equity gap that currently exists.
We hope that you will contact your member of Congress about the provisions in both bills that would benefit the arts education community. As the House holds its vote on Friday, and Senate legislation is considered in a few months, it is valuable to convey to lawmakers now the provisions that should be supported in a final bipartisan approach.
Summary of Arts-Related Provisions
|Subject||HR 5 Student Success Act||Democratic Substitute Bill||Arts Education Position|
|Core Academic Subjects||X Terminates ‘core academic subject’ definition, including the arts||⇒Retains the arts in ‘core academic subject’ definition||There is a critical need for federal law to include the arts as a core academic subject. Without this leadership, states and school districts have less incentive to support the arts as part of a student’s complete education.|
|Grant Program Support||⇒ Proposes consolidation of 65 programs, but retains arts education as a priority, listed among others, for a new local competitive grant program.||⇒A new Well-Rounded Subjects grant program is proposed, that includes the arts.||The arts are included as an eligible grant activity in both legislative proposals, but neither are as dedicated as the current federal Arts In Education grant program|
|Professional Development||⇒ Includes new specific language including arts educators as eligible for professional development support.||⇒ Maintains pre-existing professional development eligibility that includes arts educators.||Supporting arts educators with professional development funding is a priority item.|
|Funding for Disadvantaged Students||X Reallocates Title I funding decisions to primarily state and local levels and reduces arts education eligibilty.||⇒ Arts education remains as an eligible use of Title I funds to support academic success for disadvantaged students.||In terms of direct federal funding support, nothing is larger than Title I. In order to support equity for disadvantaged students explicit federal Title I eligibility is a priority need.|
|After-School Programs||X The 21st Century Community Learning Centers is consolidated with 64 other programs into a new funding initiative.||⇒ 21st Century Community Learning Centers program is retained.||The arts are a substantial activity in any after-school program. With 1.6 million young people impacted by this $1 billion program, we believe there is bipartisan support for a discrete after-school program.|
Please visit Americans For The Arts’ E-Advocacy Center to send a customizable message, including the points made above, to your member of Congress in advance of Friday’s vote – and to let them know how you think these policies will impact arts education.
Help us also continue this important work by also becoming an official member of the Arts Action Fund. If you are not already a member, play your part by joining the Arts Action Fund today – it’s free and easy to join.
Thank you for your support for arts education!
Source: Americans for the Arts