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Performing Arts Alliance
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FUNDING THE ARTS IN EDUCATION PROGRAM AT
THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
IMPROVING ACCESS TO ARTS EDUCATION FOR ALL STUDENTS

 

ACTION NEEDED


We urge Congress to:

  • Appropriate $30 million for the Arts in Education (AIE) program in the FY 2014 Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill. The Arts in Education program is authorized under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.
  • Retain the Arts in Education program as a distinct grant competition in FY 2014 appropriations.

Arts in Education Annual Appropriations, FY 2002 to present (in millions of dollars)

Fiscal Year

‘02

‘03

‘04

‘05

‘06

‘07

‘08

‘09

‘10

‘11

'12 

'13

Appropriation

30.0

33.8

35.1

35.6

35.3

35.3

37.3

38.1

40

25.5

 24.6

24.6*

*Subject to change pending final action on Continuing resolution and sequestration.
Note: Figures above are not adjusted for inflation. Source: U.S. D. E.

TALKING POINTS

  • Restored funding would support the Arts in Education program at the U.S. Department of Education and newly emerging education models that improve arts learning in in high-poverty schools. The Arts in Education program includes:
    • Model Development and Dissemination grants strengthen student learning through standards-based arts education and integration of arts instruction into other subject areas. The program has funded a total of 158 projects, identifying excellent models of arts education that impact schools and communities nationwide.
    • Professional Development for Arts Educators grants identify innovative models that improve instruction for arts specialists and classroom teachers. The Professional Development grants program has supported 65 projects that serve as national models for effective arts education professional development.
    • Evaluation and National Dissemination multiplies the impact of this federal investment. State and local education agencies can adapt these models to provide rigorous arts instruction for all students.
    • A National Program Competition supports national level high-quality arts education projects and programs for children and youth, with special emphasis on serving students from low-income familites and students with disabilites. 

  • A reduction below the current level of Arts in Education funding could result in under-funding multiyear projects that are midstream. Arts in Education funds provide unique federal support, leveraging the capacity of the arts to sustain and enhance creativity and innovation in learning. Most grant awards support projects over the course of four years. Cuts to AIE funding would place these projects in extreme jeopardy.

  • When the U.S. Department of Education makes direct grants through the Arts in Education program fund, it is exercising a critical form of federal leadership, strengthening the arts as a core academic subject of learning. This federal commitment to improving equitable access to arts education should not be compromised by consolidation in an appropriations bill. Any major restructuring of the Arts in Education programs should be carefully considered in the context of Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) reauthorization. 

  • Arts in Education programs create model initiatives and partnerships that are significantly impacting large numbers of students and educators. Arts in Education grants have served 218 congressional districts in 31 states.
    • In 2010, the Tennessee Arts Commission was awarded a four-year grant of $1,062,000 to develop its Arts360 program to improve instruction and student achievement by making arts-based and arts-integrated learning a critical component of every child’s education. Arts360 is based on an innovative model pioneered by the Perpich Center for Arts Education, the North Dakota Council on the Arts, and the Minnesota State Arts Board and includes year-round professional development for classroom teachers, arts specialists, and teaching artists. Evidence from Tennessee’s Value Plus Schools program showed greater academic gains than the control schools, despite having larger numbers of economically disadvantaged students. 
    • Through a 2010 four-year, $1.15 million grant, Wolf Trap Education is partnering with Fairfax County Public Schools in Virginia and the American Institute for Research to develop, evaluate, and disseminate arts-based science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) teaching strategies for pre-K and kindergarten. This project will both advance arts learning and have a profound impact toward achieving STEM-related education goals for young children.
    • Through a four-year 2008 grant, California State University San Marcos—in collaboration with the North County Professional Development Federation, the San Diego County Office of Education, and 10 North San Diego County school districts that included 141 teachers and more than 3,000 students—revealed the groundbreaking results from Developing Reading Education with Arts Methods (DREAM), an arts integration program. The study results found that the control group—the group without a DREAM teacher—averaged a 25 point improvement over the year, and students with teachers who attended a summer training institute and received in class coaching gained 87 points.
    • A 2008 grant supported the formation of a new fine arts partnership between the Wichita Public Schools and Wichita State University in Kansas. The partnership provides staff development for arts educators focused on standards-based music instruction for students in Wichita public schools with 50 percent poverty or more. Ninety-one teachers serve an estimated 23,000 students.
    • In FY 2012, the Arts in Education National Program Competition granted funds to the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts to provide arts education programs and resources focusing on pre-K-12. The programs and resources are in three areas: Teaching, Learning, and Partnerships; Performances for Young Audiences and Related Events; and Career Development for Artistically Talented Young People.

  • As reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) is pending, immediate action by the U.S. Department of Education can improve arts learning opportunities. The following actions by the U.S. Department of Education and the Obama administration can make an immediate difference:
    • Provide leadership in support of arts education through policy action and public statements confirming the value of the arts and arts education, with particular emphasis on the benefits of arts learning for students from disadvantaged circumstances and those needing remedial instruction in other subjects.
    • Maximize the impact of the direct federal investment in arts education by immediately disseminating information about the outcomes of projects funded by the Arts in Education grant programs, which cultivate innovation in arts education and spur increased local support for equitable access to arts education.


BACKGROUND

The Arts in Education (AIE) program at the U.S. Department of Education has survived intense funding challenges, ultimately wining congressional support year after year. During the prolonged budget negotiations of FY 2011, the Arts in Education program was at one point eliminated, along with many other smaller programs of the U.S. Department of Education, and was the only program of its kind to be reinstated in the final congressional budget. In FY 2012, the AIE program survived another round of program eliminations to receive near-level funding, and in FY13 the Senate Appropriations Committee recommended $26.5 million, enough to continue program activities, along with directing the Department to be more effective in disseminating program results.  As of this printing, the final FY13 appropriations are subject to a continuing resolution and the FY 2014 budget has not yet been released.

The president’s previous budgets have proposed consolidating the AIE program into a new, broader funding pool entitled “Effective Teaching & Learning for a Well-Rounded Education.” The consolidation would merge funding for a wide range of subjects of learning, and the pool of total available funds for all subjects has diminished from $246 million to just $90 million. Communities representing the disciplines that would be consolidated are in opposition to the proposal, as it would diminish direct competition and federal leadership for each of these essential subjects of learning.

At a public forum, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said, "The biggest complaint I've heard from students, themselves, from teachers, and from parents, was the narrowing of the curriculum in No Child Left Behind. So, yes, reading and math are hugely important, but science, social studies, foreign language, fine and performing arts, environmental literacy, financial literacy, PE-our children deserve a lot more than what they're getting today."

The Performing Arts Alliance is a member of the Legislative Planning Committee for Arts Advocacy Day 2013. Positions in this brief were developed in partnership with the Committee.