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.  

California Arts Education Data Project is Live!


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.

This week, 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.


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.


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

Arts Education Strategies in California LCAPs

Join us for the release of Arts Education Strategies in California LCAPs.

The California Alliance for Arts Education, Arts for LA and Arts for All have partnered to provide new resources that demonstrate the ways that the arts can contribute to the State’s new priorities and in particular to the success of low-income students and English Language Learners. Arts Education Strategies in LCAPs gathers concrete examples of how districts are increasing access to arts education and implementing arts strategies to improve student outcomes in their Local Control Accountability Plans (LCAP) and shows an exciting range of arts strategies and metrics.

In the coming weeks and months, districts will be updating their Local Control Accountability Plans (LCAP) to determine priorities and funding for the coming years. The California Alliance and Arts for LA are working to empower arts education advocates to contribute to these important conversations and ensure all students have equitable and robust access to the arts. 

The webinar will offer an introduction to the Arts Education Strategies in LCAPs document, case studies by school leaders and practical advice on how to contribute to a robust arts program in your local district. 


The Making of the Animated Video: Interview with Nevada Lane

The first installment of our Student Voices Visionary features Nevada Lane, whose drawing are featured in the animated Student Voices Intro video. We spoke to her by phone and asked about her vision for schools, what creativity means to her, and what it was like to draw with a camera recording her every move! 
What is creativity? Can you give an example of creativity in someone you know?  (It could be a friend, a relative, a public figure, or you)
Nevada: I’m going to take a different slant on it. We often think of creativity in the arts, and I think that’s beautiful and wonderful.  But what’s under recognized is the creativity people have when working with other people and how they’re able to create something out of bringing people together around collaborating and achieving a common outcome.  
For a practical example – young activists who can create networks of people and bring people together to have a conversation about and tackle issues like climate change, or gun control laws.  It’s a beautiful form of creativity that we don’t often think about.