We stay on top of the latest trends, opportunities and threats in our field. Our newsletter provides a digest of current arts education headlines; our Legislative Update tracks bills in the California Legislature that could impact arts programs in our schools; and, our blog offers an in depth view or opinion on current policy issues. Below are the latest news stories about our work.  

Update to Action Alert: Support the Arts in ESSA Plan

Thank you to everyone who sent letters to the California Department of Education requesting the inclusion of language about the Visual and Performing Arts in the state plan to implement Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). We have been in touch with the California Department of Education to raise our concerns about this issue and received the following response from Barbara Murchison, ESSA State Lead at the California Department of Education:

The current draft of the ESSA State Plan, available on the California Department of Education California ESSA State Plan Drafts webpage, does reference the VAPA standards and the state’s intentions to support the implementation of these standards, particularly in the Title II, Part A section of the document.

Perhaps more important, the ESSA State Plan is fundamentally an application for federal funds—not a master plan for P-12 education—and the State Board of Education has directed us to meet, not exceed, plan requirements. The template does not require California to describe how it is supporting VAPA education, so the document already goes beyond what is required to signal California’s commitment to supporting VAPA education as a key element of a well-rounded education for our students.

We will present the plan to the State Board of Education for approval at its September meeting and submit it to the U.S. Department of Education on September 18. However, there will be much implementation work to come after the plan is approved, with most of the opportunities to support VAPA education happening at the local, not state, level. To support local implementation efforts, the California Department of Education sent a letter regarding using federal funds to support VAPA education to local educational agencies on February 27, 2017. I anticipate that more guidance regarding local use of federal funds to support standards implementation will be forthcoming once the plan is approved. Notably, to date, the VAPA standards are the only set of SBE-adopted standards for which the California Department of Education has provided ESSA-related guidance.

The most recent California Department of Education California ESSA State Plan Drafts can be viewed here. In addition, anyone interested in expressing their opinion about arts education is welcome to attend the next State Board of Education meeting on September 13-14 in Sacramento. More information here.

Measuring Success: State of Arts Education Survey

The goal of the Arts Now Campaign is to establish the expectation that every district is responsible for providing their students with a high quality, comprehensive education that includes a strong arts program, complete with instruction by credentialed arts teachers as well as arts integration strategies being implemented across the curriculum. But how do we measure our progress toward this goal?

This fall we are launching a new, more robust set of metrics that includes both quantitative measures such as number of participants and event survey results as well as qualitative tools such as open ended responses to surveys and interviews.

With the launch of the Arts Education Data Project, arts enrollment data for every school in the state is widely available and easy to use. This provides us with a clear baseline as we begin our work with individual districts and counties. In addition, the Alliance has developed a rubric called the State of Arts Education Survey to measure a district’s capacity to deliver arts education. The survey includes seven components essential to standards aligned, high quality arts learning:

  1. Curriculum, Student Assessment & Professional Development
  2. Resources & Facilities
  3. Partnerships, Collaborations and Community Engagement
  4. Teaching Personnel
  5. Funding
  6. Leadership and Planning
  7. Advocacy and Communications

The State of Arts Education Survey is scored through an interview process between a member of the Alliance Arts Now team and a local leader. This format provides an opportunity for a fruitful conversation and learning opportunities on both sides. This summer, the Alliance has completed scoring for our current Arts Now Communities and will update our findings annually to track progress and understand common challenges and trends among the groups. We have also incorporated the State of Arts Education Survey into the planning process undertaken through our Arts Now Planning Initiative. These two tools, along with our annual LCAP scan and narrative reports from the districts we work with, will enable us to better track our year-to-year progress and set specific program goals for the coming years. 

If you would like more information about arts planning or Arts Now Community development, please contact the California Alliance for Arts Education. Peggy Burt, peggy at artsed411 dot org for the Arts Now Planning Initiative and Robin Hampton, robin at artsed411 dot org for Arts Now Communities.

Classroom Guide for Student Voices Campaign Available for Download

January 11th Webinar: Student Voices Campaign Classroom Guide. Slides.

In California, students are guaranteed a voice in planning and budgeting for their local school district. The Local Control Funding Formula, or LCFF, requires that districts consult with students, parents, teachers and community members each spring to create an official plan for the coming years. The Student Voices Campaign is a creative way for young people to make their voices heard in their school district.

THE STUDENT VOICES CLASSROOM GUIDE IS HERE! Click icons to download. The Classroom Guide structures the Student Voices Campaign as a project-based learning opportunity. It uses California Social Studies Standards, National Core Media Arts Standards, and Common Core Anchor Standards.
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

California Arts Education Data Project is Live!

November 16th Webinar: Arts Ed Data Project for Advocates. Slides.

All students in California deserve to have access to high quality arts education that will provide them with important skills they need to succeed in today’s competitive workforce. But up until now, we lacked the tools to show us where (and how) arts education is offered across the state.

CreateCA, in partnership with the California Department of Education and the Arts Education Data Project, launched a first-of-its-kind suite of tools designed to help increase participation in arts education across California. The tools include the California Arts Education Data Project, which analyzes and reports school-level data on arts education courses and middle and high school enrollment across the state. It is designed to enable leaders at the state, district and school level – as well as parents and advocates – to identify and address education inequities across the state.

Proposition 55, California General Election 2016

By majority approval from the Alliance's Board of Directors and Policy Council, the Alliance announces its endorsement of Proposition 55, the Children's Education and Health Care Protection Act.

Prop. 55 prevents billions of dollars in funding cuts for public education and other vital services. The initative requires strict accountability and requires funds to be spent in the classroom. We hope you will join us in supporting essential funding for our schools.

ProtectingCalifornia.com

California Secretary of State Voter Guide on Prop. 55

 

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!

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

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

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