Welcome to ARE's 2023 Back-to-School Newsletter!
Hello, Arts Education Advocates!
At Arts ARE Education (ARE), we want to keep you informed on how our initiative is continuing to evolve and grow to support grassroots advocates seeking to ensure equitable arts education access for students. The 2023-23 school year saw the return of K-12 students and educators to classrooms throughout the country as pandemic restrictions eased. The post-pandemic era of education has prompted new learning goals and teaching strategies, along with concern over student and educator well-being, the need for greater inclusion of underserved students, and challenges to curriculum and teachers' professionalism. All these things have influenced school district priorities regarding spending, scheduling, staffing, and resources allocation.
For the 2023-24 school year, ARE is committed to providing advocacy support to arts educators, students, and their schools nationwide, as we believe the arts are a key to helping them succeed in the post-pandemic era of education.
Below are some ARE resources and news items that we think can help you advocate for arts education in your school district during the 2023-24 school year!
✓ Arts ARE Education Survey IV: The Results Are In. ARE Director James Palmarini summarizes the results of our most recent survey, conducted in May, as the 2022-23 school year wrapped up. In our end-of-year review we asked new questions about teacher retention and hiring, as well as baseline queries from past ARE surveys, helping to inform advocates' outreach to decision-makers during 2023-24.
✓ The 2023 Welcome Back, Arts Educators Letter thanking teachers for their past and ongoing commitment to arts education and students. Endorsed by the National Coalition for Arts Standards (NCAS) leadership organizations, this letter can be shared with administrators, legislators, parents, and others to demonstrate a strong and direct national support for the professionalism of arts educators at the outset of the school year.
✓ 2023-24 Challenges, Actions, and Talking Points addresses the most pressing issues facings arts education today: funding; teacher shortages; learning remediation; support for all learners; and student and educator wellness.
✓ The Arts ARE Education Statement, signed in 2022 by over fifty national organizations, asserts that every student should have access to an equitable delivery of arts education - including dance, media arts, music, theatre, and visual arts - that supports their education and well-being, from certified arts educators in partnership with community providers.
✓ ARE Podcast where we talk to national, state, and district decision-makers who help make arts education available to students nationwide. In the first half of 2023, we featured a special series, Meet NCAS, with short interviews with the leadership of NCAS, who offered overviews of their respective organizations and insight into the impact of the arts standards. Access all ARE podcast episodes here.
✓ The ARE Action Center. Access the full range of our resources here, including: the ARE Pledge and School Board Resolution; our Advocacy Toolkit (detailing 2023-24's Challenges, Actions, and Talking Points); template letters you can adapt and use in your arts advocacy with school decision-makers; and a direct link to your legislators, where you can ask them to support federal funding arts education in 2024.
Wrapping up, for arts education to remain central to a well-rounded education and fully funded to support support the well-being of all students and the entire school community, ARE is recommending these advocacy strategies for the 2023-24 school year:
✓ Encourage school leadership to support arts educators and the curriculum they have selected.
✓ Support passage of the ARE Resolution in school districts.
✓ Encourage arts supporters to sign the ARE Pledge.
✓ Support the arts education staffing and resource needs of schools in your district.
✓ Contact your members of Congress through NAfME's Grassroots Action Center asking them to increase funding for federal programs that support a well-rounded education that includes the arts.
✓ Do YOU have stories of advocacy success in your district, or questions and comments you want to share with the campaign? Let us know!
✓ We appreciate and need your financial support! Donate to Arts ARE Education here.