Another key date is coming up for arts education. Next week, starting on Tuesday, April 14th, the U.S. Senate education committee (on which your senator serves) is considering new, just released legislation to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).
This long-awaited and bipartisan bill titled Every Child Achieves Act will be considered in the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee.
Coming off the heels of Arts Advocacy Day on March 23-24, arts advocates know the Senate has been keeping this work close at hand, while embarking on series of hearings to help inform the drafting of the bill-including this one (at left) in February, taking witness testimony on role of innovation.
The draft bill was negotiated by two new key committee leaders: Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Chairman, and Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), Ranking member.
The good news is that the most critical concern we've had appears to be address in the draft legislation - it still retains a definition of "core academic subjects," which include the arts, and helps to enable additional policy support in the legislation. However, the key Arts In Education program at the U.S. Department of Education is not mentioned, nor is the federal after-school program or school improvement grants.
Your senator sits on this education committee. There are a number of direct ways your senators can help ensure the arts are taught in school and accessible to every child, but they need to hear from you. Numerous amendments are anticipated when the committee meets next week.
We urge you to take two minutes now to write to your senators to make sure they remember that the arts are essential and a part of a complete education. We've prepared a customizable message that you can send directly to their office.
Thank you for your support of the arts.
Help us continue this important work by 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.
Let us know if you have questions. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, write us on our Facebook page, give us a call, or visit us on our Encourage Creativity page. We will also continue to keep you updated on the progress of this comprehensive legislation. As you recall, the House released their bill and debated it on the House floor in February, but hasn't voted on it yet. Its committee chairman, Rep. John Kline (R-MN), has stated a vote could also occur in the coming weeks. [-] less