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.  

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

On June 6, 2013, the California Alliance received a copy of a letter addressed to Title I State Coordinators from Dr. Monique Chism, Director, Student Achievement and School Accountability Programs at the Department of Education. In it, Dr. Chism addresses inquiries she's received about the role of arts education within the Title I, Part A program.  

The letter says it loud and clear: "Activities that support the arts, in conjunction with other activities, can form an important part of an LEA's Title I program." 

The California Alliance, with Arts for LA and others around the country, have asked for clarification and have encouraged the U.S. Department of Education to help clarify some of the confusion that exists around Title I programs that has prevented schools and districts from implementing arts education strategies to achieve Title I goals. 

The letter goes on to explain the specific requirements of Title I funding, that the "activities must help facilitate Title I's overall purpose of improving the achievement of students who are failing or most at risk of failing, to meet the academic content and achievement standards developed by the State, and that "using funds for arts education also must be consistent with other applicable requirements" that determine eligibility.

CTC considers Dance and Theater Credential

On June 13, 2013, the Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) heard a series of action items that included the Teacher Advisory Panel (TAP) recommendations on how to update and improve teacher preparation in California, one of which was for the creation of a single subject credential in the areas of theatre and dance. 
 
The TAP provided a strong rational for creating these new credentials including distinct subject-specific standards within the Visual and Performing Arts Content Standards, and highlighting the intentional differences between the VAPA Dance/Physical Education and VAPA Theatre/English Language Arts standards. 
 
Multiple documents supporting the TAP recommendation from state and national dance and theatre organizations were entered into evidence. Survey data from statewide survey on the TAP recommendations also indicated strong support for immediate action on the credential recommendation.  And numerous organizations sent letters of support, inclduing the California Alliance, urging their support for this simple and powerful step. It was an encouraging showing of support for the Theatre and Dance credential. The general agreement among the commissioners, the strong public support indicated by the survey responses, the national, state, and organizational support, especially that of CFT, all point to a positive outcome by the  Commission.
 
Further action may be taken on this issue when the CTC meets again in August.
 

According to the California Dance Education Association, without such credentials and adequate teacher prep programs in Dance and Theatre, California school districts “are hard-pressed to recruit, contract and retain” highly-qualified dance and theater teacher, and thus, “sustain robust Dance and Theatre programs and fully implement the Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA) Framework and Standards for all students in all arts disciplines.” In an Op-Ed penned by  CREATE California legacy members Malissa Feruzzi-Shriver and Amy Shimshon-Santo, Ph.D., this change would “improve learning outcomes for California students, especially for the underprivileged,” whose “lack of access to instruction in arts . . . is exacerbated by unclear arts teacher preparation and certification pathways in higher education.”
 

Response to the Governor's Revised Budget


We applaud the Governor’s commitment to restoring vital funding for our schools.  The past few years have been devastating and have taken a huge toll on our state’ ability to deliver a well-rounded curriculum.

We understand the Governor’s goal to shift away from the many categorical funding streams that have characterized school finance.  We agree local school districts should be held accountable for student results, with less focus on compliance with a myriad of complex separate funding sources.

AB 580 Would Restore Funding to California Arts Council

 

In March, Californians for the Arts convened arts leaders and state legislators in Sacramento about the new bill AB 580, which would increase appropriations for the California Arts Council from $1M to $75M. The bill, authored by Assembly Member Adrin Nazarian (D—Los Angeles County), will be formally introduced to the state assembly when the language has been finalized. The California Arts Council is a state agency in Sacramento that supports arts programs across the state with granting and education programs. Its budget was slashed 97% in 2003, bringing California’s per-capita arts spending to 49th in the entire United States, ahead of only Kansas, which had eliminated public funding for the arts entirely. The funds from AB 580 would bring California’s per-capita arts spending up to 12th in the nation, or roughly $2.00 per person. The CAC is currently doing strategic planning to determine which of its programs would be revived if the bill passes. Learn more. 

ACTION Alert: Protect Categorical Funding for the Arts


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
The Governor’s proposed 2013-14 budget would eliminate almost all categorical programs in the name of local control and flexibility. While there are merits to this shift, it may also result in some students having less access to arts education. 
 
Since it’s adoption in 2007, the Arts and Music block grant has provided schools with a specific funding stream for arts education. Without these categorical funds, schools may be unable or unwilling to support programs that provide access to arts education. 


March is Arts Education Month!


The California Alliance for Arts Education and the California State PTA are sponsoring ACR 12, a concurrent resolution honoring March as Arts Education Month. The resolution will be heard in the  coming weeks in the Assembly Arts, Entertainment, Sports, Tourism & Internet Media Committee before passing on to the Assembly floor. Read the resolution here.   
 
If you would like to write a letter on behalf of your organization in support of the resolution, please use your organization's stationery and fax a letter to:

Alliance Invites Title 1 Schools to Pilot Arts Ed Strategies


As part of our ongoing work to support schools who use arts education strategies to achieve Title 1 goals, the California Alliance for Arts Education is seeking schools and districts throughout California interested in exploring the option of using Title I funds to support arts education strategies. The Alliance will provide both the support and guidance to schools and districts to help assure that they are in compliance with the expectations of the Department of Education.

Based on the example of these schools, we hope to send the message to other schools and districts throughout the state that schools can use Title I funds to support using arts education strategies to increase student academic achievement, parental involvement, and student engagement. Click here for more details. Contact us to get involved

Impact of Governor's Proposed Budget on Arts Education

Governor’s Budget Favors Local Autonomy and Eliminates Most Categorical Funding

The Governor’s budget proposal, released last week, includes major changes to K-12 education finance. The proposal gives local districts greater flexibility and autonomy in how they use state funds, putting more decisions in the hands of local school boards, with fewer state restrictions and requirements. According to an analysis of the proposed budget by Alliance Lobbyist Kathy Lynch, the Governor’s proposal,

“Provides $1.6 billion for the "Local Control Funding Formula". The proposal is largely the same as Weighted Student Formula proposed last year in that the Administration proposes to eliminate the majority of categorical programs, consolidate funding with revenue limit apportionments, and provide funding through a new formula that will be phased in over a period of seven years. The proposal will be coupled with a system of accountability measures both at the state and local level.”

Proposition 30 Passed. What's Next?

 

We did it! Californians voted to pass Proposition 30 (53.9% to 46.1%) and reinvest in our schools. Thank you for joining our efforts and ensuring that this essential funding for education passed.

Proposition 30 will raise the state sales tax a quarter-cent for four years and increase the income tax of the state's highest earners for seven years. The 2012-2013 California budget depends on that revenue.  

In a letter sent to the Governor this week,  Joe Landon acknowleged the importance of this victory as well as the work that still lies ahead:

 

"Our hope is that we can begin build upon this moment, as we look ahead with a renewed sense of the learning opportunities the arts offer across the curriculum, both through instruction in the discreet subjects of dance, music, theater and visual arts, as well as through arts integration, career technical education, and other aspects of a comprehensive educational system."

November State Legislative Elections

Alliance Lobbyist Kathy Lynch provides an analysis of the preliminary results of November 6 election. 
 
On November 6, 2012, Californians went to the poll to elect representatives from all 80 assembly districts and 21 of the 40 senate districts (odd-numbered plus one even-numbered special election).  Debra Bowen, Secretary of State, had reported a record number of voter registrations for this election (18,245,970 people or 76.7 percent of those eligible to vote.  This is an increase of 2.1 percent over the 17,304,091 registered in 2008.  Among those registered for the 2012 general election,43.7% registered as Democrats, 29.4% registered as Republicans, 20.9% expressed no party preference, and 6.0% registered as American Independent, Americans Elect, Green, Libertarian, or Peace and Freedom Party).
 
Results of the election will be certified on December 7, 2012.  As of Tuesday morning, November 13, 2012, many votes by mail and provisional ballots have not been counted.  Before the election the Assembly was composed of 52 Democrats, 27 Republicans, and 1 Independent. As of this morning, Democrats were leading in 54 districts and Republicans were leading in 26.  The Senate was composed of 25 Democrats and 15 Republicans before the election.  As of this morning, Democrats are leading in 14 districts and Republicans are leading in 7 (Senators in odd-numbered districts remaining in the Senate include14 Democrats and 5 Republicans, thus the potential composition is 28 Democrats and 12 Republicans).  As the election currently stands, there is the potential of the Democrats holding a supermajority in the California legislature.  A supermajority is capable of passing tax legislation without the threat of a Republican veto (the Senate needs 27 seats to achieve supermajority status).

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