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Tips for advocacy within Common Core Conversations


What role can arts advocates play in the conversations happening around Common Core? We can be active contributors to conversations, helping educators see the connections between Common Core and the invaluable contributions of learning in and through the arts. Our recent Local Advocacy Retreat featured a session by Vice President for Education for the Los Angeles Music Center and California Alliance Board Chair, Mark Slavkin highlighting the risks and opportunities that Common Core presents, along with some strategic approaches for advocates. 

Passing An Arts Plans Pays Off: OC Districts Get Grants to Fund Plans

The Orange County Community Foundation gave out the second round of grants to ten OC school districts who had completed a district plan for arts education and also had an active Alliance for Arts Education in their community. These grants are matched by the school district and must move some aspect of their bigger plan forward such as professional development for teachers and purchase of musical instruments. The Boeing Company and Arts Orange County have been instrumental in launching the Orange County Arts Education Collaborative Fund.

Resources for LCFF

In June, California passed historic reforms to our school financing system. After four years of funding cuts, districts now have the ability to make decisions that help to restore, make improvements and set a foundation for a more responsive and outcome driven educational program at the local level.

The new Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) provides a base level of funding for all districts, with additional funds for districts with higher needs. It also gives local school boards unprecedented control over how these new funds are spent. In this new paradigm, the role of local advocates is critical. 

Opinion: Why students make the best arts education advocates

There’s an irony surrounding education reform and advocacy.  Namely, that the beneficiaries of so much work and effort – the students -- are rarely consulted. 

Granted, student involvement in education reform has its limitations. Most students in the K-12 public education system cannot vote. As full time students, there sometimes aren’t enough hours in the day for sleeping let alone effective advocacy.  But most importantly, many students think their voices don’t have the weight that adult voices do. This last reason is the easiest to change because it’s simply not true. 

Arts education is exalted as a way to find your voice. So why not allow studentS to speak up for their right to keep speaking? Interning at the California Alliance after years of being a student involved in a public school’s drama, dance, and choir programs made me realize arts advocacy doesn’t have to (and arguably shouldn’t) be as exclusive as it may seem.


SO WHAT EXACTLY MAKES STUDENTS THE BEST ADVOCATES FOR ARTS EDUCATION? 

Student Voices Video Makers Win Adobe Software for their Schools


Last month marked the close of the Alliance’s Student Voices campaign, which gave students from all over California a platform to share their creativity and passion for the arts with their legislators. Our first-ever student video campaign drew an inspired array of submissions that showcased the artistry, hard work and zeal of student artists.

Thanks to a generous donations from Adobe, the students whose videos received the most likes have won free Adobe software for their schools.
 
Melody Lee and Irene Lee, students at the Orange County for the Arts took first place and a video created by Michelle Coder and Cody Watson in partnership students at Ridgepoint School, a middle school in Sacramento, came in second. Congratulations to both on their unique vidoes and their successful efforts to spread the word about the campaign on social media. 

Alliance Releases Policy Paper on Title 1 & Arts Education

This week in Washington DC, at the Arts Education Partnership’s National Forum Spotlight: Educating the Next America, we will release a new white paper, A Policy Pathway: Embracing Arts Education to Achieve Title I Goals.

Co-authored with Danielle Brazell of Arts for LA and Dr. Lauren Stevenson of Junction Box Consulting, the paper documents the journey we’ve been traveling for the past eighteen months to make it possible for schools and districts to embrace arts strategies for achieving the goals of Title I and improving educational outcomes for low-income students who are often underserved in public schools. 
 
Our interest in this issue was spurred by the substantial body of research demonstrating that certain forms of arts education can be an asset to schools and districts in achieving Title I goals. Despite that research evidence and the support of Secretary of Education Arne Duncan who states that “Arts education remains critical to leveling the playing field of opportunity,” we have found a lack of clarity about whether and how the arts might play a role in Title I programs.

Americans for the Arts Releases Arts Education E-Books


Americans for the Arts has designed a series of e-books to help educators, advocates, students, and organizations alike navigate the field of arts education and work together to ensure that the arts are valued in our country as an important part of all students’ lives.

The e-book series will cover multiple topics, such as the benefits of arts education, what quality arts education looks like, tips for evaluating arts education, and how to effectively make the case that the arts should be an integral part of a well-rounded education. Learn more.

Making Arts Learning Visible in Stanislaus

The Educationally Interpretative Exhibition: Rethinking the Display of Student Art, Making Arts Learning Visible
 

By Patty Larrick

A Project of the Stanislaus County Alliance for Arts Education in collaboration with the Stanislaus County Office of Education. 
 
How do we view and understand a typical student art show?  What do we make of what we see? Do we look for the “best” work?  The blue ribbons?  The “talented” kids?  Maybe we look first at the nametags that identify the student, school and grade level. Do we learn anything about how the work was created? Can we make any assumptions about teaching and learning from the singular examples on display? 
 
This month, the Stanislaus Alliance for Arts Education, in collaboration with the Stanislaus County Office of Education implemented an educational model for the display of pre-K through high school artwork. Based on a model developed by Elliot Eisner at Stanford University, the Educationally Interpretative Exhibition (EIE) was introduced at the County Office of Education, March 4-14, 2013.
 

Arts Orange County Promote the Local Arts Scene


"Whether its informing the public about events, building capacity of arts organizations or championing arts education, Arts Orange County (ArtsOC) plays a vital role," so says USAirways Magazine in a recent issue of their infight magazine.

The California Alliance is delighted to see our longtime partners in local arts education advocacy recognized for their important work in the County. ArtsOC has spearheaded the Alliance's Local Advoacy Network in Orange County, building  advoacy coaltions in fourteen OC school districts who are working to advance the arts in local schools. Read the article.

Using Facebook to Promote Arts Education in Los Alamitos

The Challenge: How to connect with parents and other allies and build support for K-12 arts education in local schools. 

The Strategy: Donna Chinn created a Facebook page that pooled information about arts education events in Los Alamitos from various sites and schools, providing parents with one place to find out about all arts events in the district. 

The Story: “I didn’t really know how Facebook worked,” says Donna Chinn, local organizer for the Los Alamitos Alliance for Arts Education, ”When I started I was trying to find or invent a way to connect with parents and other people who might be interested in local arts. Eventually, I discovered that I could set up a page for the arts alliance as an organization.  Luckily, my daughter was able to help me with my many newbie questions.”

While she didn’t have experience with social media, Donna started with clear objectives and a sound strategy: 

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