Hello, Arts Education Advocates! Welcome to our 2022 Wrap-Up Newsletter
As an ARE campaign advocate, we want to keep you informed on how the initiative is continuing to evolve and grow to support grassroots advocates seeking to ensure equitable arts education access for students. The 2022-23 school year has seen 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 and the need for greater inclusion of underserved students.
All these things have influenced school district priorities regarding spending, scheduling, staffing, and resources allocation. Arts ARE Education is committed to providing advocacy support to arts educators, students, and their schools nationwide, as we believe the arts are a key to helping pandemic-traumatized-students re-enter the in-person school environment where they can rekindle their love of learning across all subject areas in the years to come.
Here's what’s new on the Arts ARE Education website that we think can help!
✓ The Arts ARE Education Statement, signed by more than fifty national arts, arts education, and commercial organizations, asserts that every student should have access to an equitable delivery of arts education that includes dance, media arts, music, theatre, and visual arts that support their education and well-being, taught by certified arts educators in partnership with community arts providers.
✓ A new survey of ARE advocates in which we asked how their schools are faring in the 2022-23 school year thus far, using our 2021 survey questions focusing on the return to in-person learning and ESSER and other funding. We also ask a new question about district support for well-being programs for students and teachers.
✓ Updated Challenges and Talking Points in the ARE Advocacy Toolkit highlighting the most pressing issues facing arts education today and actionable strategies and resources that advocates can use to counter the concerns.
✓ The Welcome Back Arts Educators Letter that was endorsed by the leadership of seven national arts and arts education organizations and shared with arts educators nationwide at the outset of the new school year, thanking them for their commitment in 2021-22 and offering them support for 2022-23.
✓ ARE Virtual Town Hall, held in September and attended by more 150 advocates from throughout the country, included keynote presentations by national leaders whose organizations support arts education. Attendees participated in breakout sessions where they discussed the key challenges facing arts education today, including teacher shortages, the well-being and inclusion of all students, and funding. The breakout groups shared their concerns, questions, and experiences in a series of Jamboards.
✓ The Talk it Up Podcast Series where we continue to talk to national, state, and district decision makers who help make arts education available to students nationwide. In past several months we have conducted four new podcasts:
Podcast 7: Why Media Arts Matters Parts I & II—A dynamic discussion about the rising presence and relevance of media arts education in K-12 school today between a student, an active media arts educator, and Dain Olsen, co-chair the National Coalition for Core Arts Standards Media Arts Committee.
Podcast 8: Title IV-A—A conversation with Denise Estudillo, the federal grants manager in Winslow, Arizona, and two of her arts educators about how Title IV-A federal dollars helped build music and visual arts programs in their rural district.
Podcast 9: Arts Integration—Two experts in the field of arts integration—Dr. Jennifer Katona and Dr. Jenna Masone—explore how school-wide adoption of an arts-infused curriculum can shape a school’s culture of learning and teaching.
Podcast 10: Arts Education Data—Two leaders in the field of arts education—Jamie Kasper, director of the Arts Education Partnership and Claus Von Zastrow, senior policy director at Education Commission for the States—dive into arts education data, talking about how new data gathering initiatives are helping to define what arts education look like in states across the country. Access earlier ARE podcasts here.
✓ New Blogs that address critical issues facing arts education today or offer supplemental reflection on topics addressed in the ARE podcasts:
Arts ARE Education Survey III: The Results Are In—ARE director James Palmarini summarizes the campaign’s third survey in November 2022, asking the baseline questions of the first two pandemic—related surveys, and adding a new question about student and teacher wellness.
What we know about the status of arts education—a data report—Jamie Kasper, Director of the Arts Education Partnership and Claus Von Zastrow, Senior Policy Director, Education Commission of the States, revisit arts their arts education data report of 2020, detailing how new data has illuminated the status of arts education in states that are reporting out on pandemic era student access, courses, and enrollment.
Using federal Title IV A dollars to support arts education—Dustin K. Loehr, Director of Arts Education & Title IV-A, Arizona Department of Education, explains how districts in his state have been able to apply and receive Title IV A dollars to help support their arts programs, with details on how the application process works and who the key players are in any federal funds grant initiative.
Why Media Arts matters—Dain Olsen, former media arts educator in the Los Angeles Unified School District and co-chair of the Media Arts Committee, National Coalition for Core Arts Standards, makes the case for nationwide adoption of media arts as the fifth arts area, articulating how it empowers students, promotes interdisciplinary learning, and builds community.
✓ The ARE Action Center—Access the full range of campaign’s resource here: the guide to ESSER funding; the ARE Pledge and School Board Resolution; and the Advocacy Toolkit that feature template letters you can adapt and use in your arts advocacy with school decision makers and legislators.
Wrapping up, here are our end-of-the year “asks” of you—our most important advocates:
✓ It’s School Board Budget Season and time to pass Resolution 23!
Every year, school districts throughout the country begin planning budgets for the next school year; while that process traditionally begins in March, ESSER funding has accelerated the planning in many districts throughout the country.
On average, most districts have more than eight times what they would have to budget towards their schools, up to September 2024. However, there is no guarantee or obligation for school boards to designate any of those dollars towards arts education programs in your district. That’s where the ARE Resolution comes in.
Now is the time for you to reach out to your district leadership to advocate for passage of Resolution 23, in which the school board formally commits to funding K-12 arts education programs in their schools for 2022-23. If your district passed the Resolution in 2023, that’s great, but you should ask them to recommit their support; if your district is new to the Resolution, this is a great opportunity for you and your fellow community advocates to mobilize in support of access to arts education for every student in the district.
✓ 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.