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BREAKING: Governor Signs SB 916, AB 2862

Today, Governor Jerry Brown corrected a longstanding injustice in California’s arts education delivery system, and set the course for a brighter future for California’s students by signing SB 916 (Allen) into law, legislation that will establish single-subject teaching credentials in dance and theatre.

Press Release

Reinstating Single Subject Teaching Credentials for Theatre and Dance: Background and History

This is an issue that has burned in the hearts and minds of arts education advocates since 1970, when dance and theatre credentials were eliminated by the Ryan Act. Since then, teachers could only teach dance after obtaining a credential in Physical Education, and an English credential to teach theatre. Twice, legislative efforts to create these credentials were vetoed by the governor at that time.

Earlier this year, Senator Ben Allen (D-Los Angeles), chair of the Joint Committee on the Arts, decided to take up the issue and introduced Senate Bill 916, the Theatre and Dance Act (TADA!). This effort picked up many vocal allies along the way, including actress Annette Bening, who testified on behalf of the bill in the Senate Education Committee. SB 916 made it through both houses of the legislature without a negative vote, buoyed by the support of the California Teachers Association, California Federation of Teachers, and a multitude of organizations and individuals across the state, including 750 advocates who responded to the Alliance’s advocacy campaign and sent letters to Governor Brown in support of the bill!

Expanding Arts Education Advocacy in Santa Barbara

 

The Challenge: How to expand arts education advocacy efforts in your district and beyond

 

The Strategy: Host a countywide event to build visibility and leverage new support

 

The Story: Established in May of 2014, the Santa Barbara County Alliance for Arts Education (SBCAAE) hit the ground running. Just days after launching, they went before the Santa Barbara Unified School District (SBUSD) board to advocate for a Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA) Director position – and succeeded! Building on that accomplishment, SBCAAE wanted to increase their presence and continue the conversation of arts advocacy around their county. Their goals were to engage key community stakeholders countywide, recruit new members to their arts education advocacy efforts, and keep people engaged by participating in a subcommittee.

New Teaching Performance Expectations on Visual and Performing Arts, Arts Integration

By Merryl Goldberg

Introduction by Joe Landon: On Thursday, June 16, 2016, the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing took a bold step towards recognizing the importance of visual and performing arts as well as arts integration as components of the newly adopted Teaching Performance Expectations of California. What follows is a blog by Dr. Merryl Goldberg, Professor, CSU San Marcos, who was instrumental in the advocacy effort leading to these new guidelines, detailing what the changes are and what they mean for teachers and students in California.

If you are reading this blog, you probably need no convincing of the power of the arts as a discipline and pedagogical tool in our schools.  Well, now the State of California agrees with you.  The California Commission on Teacher Credentialing has moved to strengthen and streamline its accreditation system, update teacher preparation standards and improve performance assessments by adopting new guidelines for the preparation of multiple subject teachers (K-8).  These new guidelines specifically call out the role of arts and arts integration in meeting the needs of learners. The California Alliance for Arts Education was actively involved in this effort along with many higher education partners and professors, including a convening within the California Council on Teacher Education in advocating for the inclusion of the visual and performing arts as well as identifying arts integration, directly in the Teaching Performance Expectations (TPEs).

SB 916 Passes Senate Education Committee!

UPDATE 8/18/16: The bill passed the Assembly floor (78-0-2).

UPDATE: 8/11/16: Passed by the Assembly Appropriations Committee and referred to the Assembly floor.

UPDATE 6/22/16: The Assembly Education Committee voted unanimously to approve SB 916. The bill now moves to the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

UPDATE 6/1/16: SB 916 passed the Senate on May 31, 2016.

SB 916 (Allen) – the Theatre and Dance Act (TADA!) – has passed its first hurdle in the legislative process. On April 20, 2016, by a vote of 9 to 0, the Senate Education Committee voted to send the bill on to the Senate Appropriations Committee for its approval.

Sponsored by the California Alliance for Arts Education, SB 916 requires the Commission on Teacher Credentialing to issue single-subject credentials in theatre and dance.

Senator Ben Allen (D-Los Angeles) presented the bill, stating, “To tell people who have earned a degree in dance or theatre that they can’t teach in their respective fields unless they get a credential in PE or English is a disservice to them as teachers, to their students, and the subject matter.”

Nadia Leinhos, a sixteen-year-old theatre student from Palo Alto, spoke, “Having passionate, dedicated teachers ensures that an education in the theatre and dance will give us access to ways of thinking and doing that broaden our mindset and worldview. I think every child deserves that opportunity.”

Actress Annette Bening testified in support of the bill. She stated, “I would not be where I am without the benefit of the gifted, experienced teachers I encountered along the way who guided and supported my development. Our students deserve no less — that is, to be taught by highly qualified teachers who have been trained in the technique and knowledge that enables students to excel in the classroom, teachers who have earned credentials in their given subject.”

Student Voices Video Finalists Announced!

What if you could create change by making a video? That was the question proposed to school students (grades 7-12) across California in the recent 3rd annual STUDENT VOICES CAMPAIGN, presented by the California Alliance for Arts Education. The campaign empowered students to make videos that communicate what matters to them and share them with their local school board. Hundreds of students representing 7 California counties participated by submitting their vision ranging from the need for arts education, updated computers, and bathrooms for trans and non-binary gendered students.
 
"This is a video that shows why we need gender-neutral restrooms at our schools for trans and non-binary students in our district. There are many trans and non-binary students in our district who do not feel comfortable in gendered restrooms. This means many of these students don’t go to the restroom during school even when they need to." Student, Lincoln High School, San Jose Unified School District



"Your case is compelling and I am impressed that you took the time to create a persuasive and professional video to make your case. I am going to look into our district's current restroom policy and see if we need to update it. I agree that every student should feel safe at school and the only concern should be learning. I will follow up with your group in a day or two so we can review together what exists and what should be." School Board Member, Susan Ellenberg, San Jose Unified School District

The Power of a Wish List

The Challenge: How to hold your district accountable for what's in the LCAP


The Strategy: Keep a wish list, and keep talking about it!


The Story: As a longtime PTA parent and local organizer for the California Alliance's Local Advocacy Network, Courtney Fielder was educated about California's new funding law and took an active role in her school district's Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) meetings. But she had something else too: a wish list.

 

Student Voices Summit & Screening

On Saturday, April 30, the California Alliance for Arts Education will host the Student Voices Summit & Screening at the San Francisco Art Institute. The Summit will bring together students from all over California for an afternoon of student-led advocacy workshops, master classes with celebrated artists Christopher Coppola, Isa Borgeson, and Delroy Lindo, and the chance to see student videos on the big screen.

Together with our event hosts, the California Arts Council, Oakland School for the Arts and the Walter & Elise Haas Fund, we are pleased to offer this free event, open to all California public school students in grades 7-12, teachers, and parents. Space is limited and registration is required.

REGISTER and view the event page at StudentVoicesSummit2016.eventbrite.com

If you, your school or organization are interested in bringing a group of students to the event, please email us.

Free Webinar: How Teachers Can Support SB 916

Update 3/28/16: View an archived recording of the webinar.

Join us on Thursday, March 24, 2016 at 5:30 PT for a webinar that will offer concrete strategies for supporting Senate Bill 916, including how to communicate with your union and your legislators, and how to spread the campaign to other teachers. Panelists will include leaders from the California Dance Education Association (CDEA) and the California Educational Theatre Association (CETA). These voices will give you the context and strategies to help you take action to get this bill noticed and passed.


SB 916, the Theatre and Dance Act (TADA!), introduced by Senator Ben Allen, would establish single-subject teaching credentials for dance and theatre. TADA is the third legislative attempt to correct this issue.

Currently, California is one of only two states in the country that does not have a teaching credential in dance or theatre. California's Education Code includes specific standards for dance and theatre, and yet the state does not provide discrete teaching credentials for those disciplines.

REGISTER

Building and Engaging a Strong Leadership Team in Amador County

The Challenge: How to build a countywide effort to increase arts education  

The Strategy: Build a strong leadership team composed of cross sector partners (and keep them engaged)

The Story: The small county of Amador sits among the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. When the Amador Alliance for Arts Education launched, one of their challenges was bridging the county's geography to build a coordinated effort across county schools.
 
"We needed a strong leadership team that gathered leaders from several key stakeholder groups to create a unified effort that bridged the county's hilly geography," says Terra Forgette, Executive Director of AmadorArts and the lead for the Amador Alliance.

Theatre and Dance Act Introduced

UPDATE 6/22/16: The Assembly Education Committee voted unanimously to approve SB 916. The bill now moves to the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

UPDATE 6/1/16: SB 916 passed the Senate on May 31, 2016.

UPDATE 4/13/16: The general assembly of the California Teachers Association voted on Sunday, April 10 to support legislation by Senator Ben Allen (D-Los Angeles) that would create teaching credentials in the subjects of Dance and Theatre. Due to the dedicated advocacy of dance and theatre teachers, as well as colleagues from other disciplines, one of the historic barriers to establishing the credentials has been removed. Our advocacy campaign continues after the bill is heard in the Senate Education Committee on April 20. 

On January 27, 2016, Senator Ben Allen held a press conference to announce the introduction of SB 916, the Theatre and Dance Act (TADA!), legislation that would establish dance and theatre credentials in California. California is one of only two states in the country without dance or theatre credentials. Read what the bill says here.

Annette Bening at the California Arts Council 40th Anniversary Celebration speaking on SB 916 (Allen), the Theatre and Dance Act

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