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 Supports Arts Education in Title 1 Program

The California Alliance for Arts Education, 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. 

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." More recently, Dr. Chism joined the California Alliance as part of a panel at the National Title 1 Conference and shared her personal experience with the arts. (See video below).  

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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.  

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ALLIANCE PRESENTS SERIES OF REGIONAL CONVENINGS ON ARTS Education and TITLE I

The California Alliance is hosting regional convenings planned to help California schools and districts understand the appropriate use of arts strategies within the Title I program.

In the coming months, we will travel to Sonoma, Los Angeles, Alameda, and Sacramento to share strategies for increasing student engagement, academic achievement, parent involvement and other Title 1 goals through the arts. School principals, district administrators, financial officers, school site council members and categorical funding experts are invited to attend and will receive information on best practices and research that can be used to support these efforts including a step-by-step walkthrough of how arts strategies can be included in a school site plan.

The scheduled convenings are the following:

  1. Alameda: Friday, April 25, 2014 1-3p.m., Alameda County Office of Education, 313 W. Winton Ave, room L2 Hayward, CA 94544 Register. Event Flyer. 
  2. Sacramento: Wednesday, May 21, 2014, Sacramento County Office of Education, 8:30 AM: Breakfast and Networking 9:00 AM - 11:00 AM: Meeting Register. 

* The admission to all the listed events is FREE

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Decision on Dance and Theatre Credential Postponed

In late September, the Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) will hold its next meeting where it was expected to render a decision about whether to add a single subject credential for dance and theater. That decision has been delayed until the Commission’s December meeting. Although the state's education code requires instruction in four artistic disciplines, California is currently one of only a handful states that does not offer a credential for dance and theater teachers. In June, the California Alliance and other organizations supporting the new credential sent letters of support to the Commission. We will report back on the results of these efforts after the December meeting. 

 

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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? 

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.”
 
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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. 
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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.
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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.

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