The passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) in December 2015 represents a tremendous win for arts education. This act holds great promise for restoring arts education as central to the school day and ending the current patchwork waiver system. Here are some of the ways Americans for the Arts is working to advance art education for all primary and secondary school students.
Encourage Creativity: Teach the Arts
In January 2015, we launched a new series of videos, “Encourage Creativity: Teach the Arts,” showcasing the voices of young people as they demonstrate the value and benefits they get from the arts in their lives. You can use this suite of videos to help convince educators, policy-makers, and community leaders about the importance of arts education and start a conversation about access to arts in your area. First, take a quiz to see how much you already know about the benefits of arts education and then view the videos.
The Arts Education Navigator Series
To encourage and educate everyone interested in how the arts can improve and impact education, we created the Arts Education Navigator Series of e-books with the support of Vans. The four e-books, also translated into Spanish, walk arts education advocates from the beginning of the process to the end with Getting Started, Facts and Figures, Making the Case, and Mobilizing Support. Each e-book identifies what you’ll need to successfully advocate for arts education in your community.
Every Student Succeeds Act
The No Child Left Behind Act’s era of testing caused many schools to cut funding for arts programs in a short-sighted attempt to bolster reading and math programs. Since then, many schools have started to reinvest in efforts to re-incorporate the arts into the school day, and this bill finally affords the ability to focus on the whole child in order to ensure every child has an opportunity to achieve.
The new “Assistance for Arts Education” program in ESSA ensures dedicated funding for arts education through the continued authorization of a distinct arts education grant, a huge victory after fighting against annual termination and consolidation efforts. Additionally, the arts are distinctly included in the ESSA’s definition of a “Well-Rounded Education,” recognizing that the arts continue to be eligible for Title I funds—the largest federal funding source to local educational agencies and schools. The integration of the arts into STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) is also supported under new well-rounded educational opportunities in ESSA.
“This new law holds great promise for restoring arts education as central to the school day and in the lives of students and our nation’s future workforce.”
– President and CEO Robert L. Lynch
Watch President Obama Sign ESSA into Law