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U.S. Dept of Ed Supports Arts Education in Title 1 Program

At the 2014 National Title I Conference, Dr. Monique Chism, Director of Student Achievement and School Accountability Programs at the Department of Education, took a stand for arts education within the Title I program. Not only did she share her conviction that “arts education ensures that underserved students in public schools, particularly low income students and English-learners do better in school and [...] have the greatest relative improvements in academic achievement when participating in arts programs,” but she also shared a personal story of how the arts impacted her as a young person. (See video below).

Embracing Arts Education to Achieve Title 1 Goals

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.

Securing local business partners for arts education advocacy

The Challenge: How can I get local businesses to support arts education advocacy efforts?

The Strategy: 1. Ask  2. Ask smart.

The Story: Business support for the arts is a long standing tradition, but asking a local business to get involved in your arts advocacy effort may seem like a more difficult sell.

Yet for Nick Rail Music, spreading the word about the opportunity presented by the new Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) just made good business sense. With six music stores in Southern California, specializing in selling, renting and repairing band and orchestral instruments mainly to schools, they understood the impact LCFF could have on music programs in local schools and, in turn on their business. At the same time, they were finding that many of their customers were simply not aware of what was at stake. 

2014 Student Voices Campaign Launches!

The Student Voices Campaign launching on March 1. 2014, gives students a platform to demonstrate their creative power and passion for the arts with their elected officials. Students are invited to upload original videos of two minutes or less that respond to the question ‘What Does Your Creativity Look Like?’ at http://studentvoicescampaign.org/ between March 1 May 31, 2014. Students can sing, speak, dance, animate, act, speak or paint their answers.

As local districts set priorities and funding allocations to comply with California’s new Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), young advocates can offer powerful evidence of the ways that arts education empower and equip young people for a successful future.

For the second year of the campaign the California Alliance for Arts Education is pleased to partner with some of the state’s leading arts leaders, including the CalArts Community Arts Partnership, the California State Summer School for the Arts, Center Theatre Group, Inner City Arts, Inocente, Shine Global’s Academy Award-winning documentary and Venice Arts.  

Help District Leaders Understand How the Arts Can Contribute to LCFF Goals

The Challenge: How can I ensure that my district leaders understand the valuable role arts education can play in reaching Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) and Common Core goals?

The Strategy: Present evidence to your local school board that connects the stated goals of LCFF and Common Core with the benefits of arts education.

The Story: On January 14, five members of the Santa Cruz Alliance for Arts Education (SCAAE) spoke at a local school board meeting.

Each spoke about the different benefits of arts education and the group as a whole represented a variety of backgrounds – parent, teacher, university professor and district arts coordinator – but all of them grounded their presentations in specific aspects of the Local Control Funding Formula and/or Common Core.

Dreams of Education

Merryl Goldberg, Chair, Visual and Performing Arts Department, California State University San Marcos, and author of Arts Integration: Teaching Subject Matter Through the Arts in Multicultural Settings (Pearson, 2012, 4th edition)

I love being with my students. They exude potential, work hard in class, and have a uniquely wonderful spirit and enthusiasm for learning.  They also are pretty creative when it comes to figuring out things they don’t know.  For example, in the beginning of the year when I showed them pictures of musical instruments, even though they had a hard time identifying most of the instruments, they did their very best to invent ways to spell the names of instruments once we labeled them together in class.  Here are a few invented spellings for instruments such as cello, cymbals, xylophone, violin, harp, saxophone, trombone, flute, guitar, oboe, timpani, and bassoon:  

chellow, chelo, cielo, symbols, zilphon, xailaphone, villien, violen, arp, saxiphone, trumbone, fluit, kitour, clairanet, obo, tymphony, timponee, bazoon.  

The What and Why of Starting a Local Arts Education Advocacy Coalition

On December 3, Arts Council Napa Valley along with the Napa County Office of Education and the California Alliance for Arts Education hosted an early morning breakfast to garner support for arts education in Napa County schools. In response to the statewide changes in education focus, the California Alliance launched the Local Advocacy Network project, which supports local advocacy efforts in more than 30 California communities. 
 
Napa County Superintendent of Schools Barbara Nemko, along with the Principal Advisor to the State Superintendent of Schools Craig Cheslog, Napa Valley Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Patrick Sweeney and Executive Director of the California Alliance for Arts Education Joe Landon, began the conversation with more than 50 Napa County educators, arts organizations, nonprofits and community leaders in attendance. The event was held on the historic Napa Valley Unified School District Auditorium stage.
 
The Arts Advocates of Napa County agree that it is essential every child have the opportunity for an arts-rounded education. In working to make this possible, groups were formed to determine methods and needs to improve art education in Napa County. However, there are many challenges faced with art education in the schools, such as, state funding cuts, locally managed budgets, need of a central organizer for arts education curriculum and assets, absence of training for teaching the arts, and lack of opportunity available for arts as a new Common Core standard.

Find Out the Status of Arts Education in Your Local School District

The Challenge: The Local Control Funding Formula offers a rare opportunity for districts to allocate funding for the arts, but how do you find out what your district needs most?

The Strategy: An online survey of schools in your district can provide information about the status of arts education in local schools and the areas of greatest need. 

The Story: Last month, parents, educators, elected officials, and leaders from local business and cultural institutions gathered to launch an arts education advocacy effort in San Luis Obispo County. There was a great turnout and small group discussions yielded a long list of possible goals. County Superintendant of Schools Julian Crocker told those gathered that the new Local Control Funding Formula presented them with a “historic opportunity” to advance arts education in their community. Only one question remained, where should we start?

Napa, Yolo, Nevada and San Luis Obiipo Counties Join Network

The California Alliance for Arts Education is delighted to announce that as a result of our ongoing partnership with the California Arts Council, four new communities have joined the Local Advocacy Network. In 2008, the California launched the Network in response to a shift toward local decision-making. Since that time, the project has grown to include close to thirty California communities, providing each with strategic assistance, communication tools and professional development so that they can effectively advocate for arts education. A warm welcome to our newest members! 

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. 

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