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Arts Education Advocacy

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Arts Education Advocacy
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The House Labor-HHS-Appropriations subcommittee introduced it's funding bill for fiscal year 2024, which includes the Department of Education's (ED) budget. The bill would provide the Department of Education with $57.1 billion in discretionary funding, which is a $22.5 billion (28%) decrease below FY24 funding and falls $33 billion short of the President’s request. This is the lowest funding amount allocated to ED since 2006 and will have devastating impacts throughout America's education system, if enacted. To avoid the potential impact of slashing ED's budget by more than 1/4, we need you, arts education advocates, to rally together and show your support for these vital programs.

We urge Congress to:

  • Strengthen equitable access to arts education through the Well-Rounded Education provisions of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).
  • Appropriate the President’s request of $20.5 billion for Title I, Part A to help disadvantaged children achieve proficiency in arts education and improve arts education programs in low-achieving schools.
  • Support professional development for arts educators and increase the number of high quality teachers by appropriating $2.4 billion for Title II, Part A.
  • Provide $1.65 billion in support for the Student Support & Academic Enrichment Grants under Title IV, Part A, to support Well-Rounded Education.
  • Fund the U.S. Department of Education’s Assistance to Arts Education program at $40 million.
  • Restore and appropriately fund the arts in the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), including full and robust assessments in dance, theater, media arts, music, and visual art.
  • Require the U.S. Department of Education to issue annual policy memoranda promoting the eligibility under current law for the arts to be supported through Title I funds.
  • Provide adequate funding for the Institute of Education Science to implement a Fast Response Survey System (FRSS) study in the arts; include pre-K–12 arts education in the annual School and Staffing Survey and other data instruments.

Reps. Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR-1) and Chellie Pingree (D-ME-1) have reached out to their House Colleagues urging them to sign on to a letter urging U.S. Secretary Miguel Cardona to:

  • Clarify for State Educational Agencies (SEAs) and Local Educational Agencies (LEAs) that they may use Title I funds for arts education programs. The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) states that Title I funds can be used for a well-rounded education, which includes arts education. Similar letters had been issued approximately every five years during the Bush and Obama Administrations, but the most recent letter dates back to 2013.
  • Reinstate the Arts National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) and improve data collection using current Department of Education (USED) tools. The NAEP, the only national assessment for arts that existed, was cut by the National Assessment Governing Board in 2019. In doing so, the Governing Board dismantled the only national assessments in these content areas, limiting the nation’s ability to measure rigor in these content areas, recognized by the U.S. Congress as part of a well-rounded education under the Every Student Succeeds Act in 2015.
  • Reinstate staff content specialists for the arts and humanities within the leadership of the USED. Content specialists in these disciplines will strategically help USED to collect accurate data and report on issues of equity and access exemplars of practice from across the country, including through federally funded projects; build policy recommendations and guidance to further all students having access to a well-rounded education.

If you are supportive of the provisions of this letter, your organization can endorse it here. Rep. Bonamici’s office is looking for a quick turnaround to endorse by end of day on December 6. Additionally, if you have connections with your Member of the House of Representatives, please reach out to your Member of Congress to sign on to the letter. If you need sample email language or staff names, please contact Olivia (cc’d) or myself.

Congress has until February 2, 2024 to decide how it will handle FY2024 appropriations for the Labor, HHS, and Education Appropriations bill. The House’s current version is a threat to arts education programs around the country. The bill would cut Title I by 80 percent, eliminate Title II as well as eliminate the popular Arts in Education Program. Please contact your member of the House of Representatives to vote against this measure and please share the campaign across your networks.

Click here to read Americans for the Arts' One Sheet on Arts Advocacy. Click here to learn more from the National Association for Music Education. Finally, click here to access Americans for the Arts' Advocate Hub.

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