It is a crucial time in Washington for arts education. The Every Child Achieves Act, the bill to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), was recently passed through the Senate education committee by a unanimous vote. The long-awaited and bipartisan bill will soon be considered on the Senate floor.
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 bill passed through the Senate education committee markup during which 29 amendments out of the proposed 60 were adopted.
The 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 is addressed in the legislation - it still retains a definition of "core academic subjects," which include the arts and adds music, and helps to enable additional policy support in the legislation. The Federal after-school program was not included in the draft bill, but was fortunately added into the legislation during the Senate education committee's markup. However, the key Arts In Education program at the U.S. Department of Education is not mentioned.
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.
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 email@example.com, 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