Posts Tagged ‘legislation’


Every Student Succeeds Act

January 4, 2016

The State of Things

Visual and Performing Arts Specialist at the Maine Department of Education, Beth Lambert will 4747f3_e307e6fa3fd747b697c839e1e95fd0f9periodically be writing blog posts under the title of “The State of Things”. Today is her first offering on the topic of Every Student Succeeds Act, the new legislation from the federal government. I know you join me in appreciating what Beth has to offer in this post and in future posts. If you have questions or feedback for Beth please contact her at

On Thursday, December 10th, 2015, Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) became the new federal education law of the land. In an effort to contrast the heavy-handed federal accountability requirements of No Child Left Behind (NCLB), ESSA has shifted much more responsibility for educational policy to the state level.

So, what does this mean for Arts Education?

No Child Left Behind included the arts in the core subject areas, listed on equal footing with math, science, English, social studies, and foreign language. This was a huge win for arts education and has allowed for the arts to have a place at the table in conversations regarding graduation requirements and use of Federal funds, including Title 1.

ESSA has changed things a bit.

There are no longer core subject areas, but rather a requirement to offer student a “well-rounded education.” A “well-rounded education” is defined as: courses, activities, and programming in subjects such as English, reading or language arts, writing, science, technology, engineering, mathematics, foreign languages, civics and government, economics, arts, history, geography, computer science, music, career and technical education, health, physical education, and any other subject, as determined by the State or local education agency, with the purpose of providing all students access to an enriched curriculum and educational experience, (Section 8002, Definitions).

In an intentional contrast to NCLB, ESSA give states much more choice in what they choose as accountability measures. The Every Students Succeeds Act requires that states develop and implement both programs and activities that support access to a well-rounded education, but what programs and activities those are, are largely state and local school boards’ discretion.

SO, that means your voice is more important than ever! Your administrators and local school boards need to understand that visual and performing arts education is essential to a well-rounded education. Keep your place at the table and educate your community on the impact the arts can have on low-performing schools, how integrating the arts can improve understanding in all subject areas and inspire innovation that is desperately needed in this country.

Beth Lambert ( is the Visual and Performing Arts Specialist at the Maine Department of Education


Arts Action Alert

January 29, 2015

Americans for the Arts

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January 28, 2015

Dear Arts Advocate:

As the 114th Congress begins a new season of legislating, we are already deeply concerned about education legislation being considered. Two weeks ago, the new chairman of the Senate education committee released a “discussion draft” to consider changes to federal education policies. The last authorization, known as the No Child Left Behind Act, expired in 2007, so this legislation is long overdue.

However, the current draft bill contains a number of provisions that would be terrible for arts education should they become law. Among the problematic provisions, this bill:

1) Deletes the definition of “core academic subjects,” which includes the arts!
2) Terminates the $1 billion 21st Century Community Learning Center after-school program, which supports arts education;
3) Terminates the small, but mighty, federal Arts In Education program which has supported over 200 model grant programs for over a decade;
4) Omits indicators of student access to the arts as part of annual state reporting (example is New Jersey’s report) that help identify the equity gap.

One positive development so far is that there appears to be bipartisan consensus that there is an over-emphasis on student testing. This has been a growing concern in the education sector as arts education advocates have made the point for years that the class time spent on testing has pushed the arts out of the school day.

The Senate education committee has invited public comments and we have prepared a simple way to provide them with feedback from supporters of arts education. Please take two minutes and send a customizable message to the Senate education committee by the end of Monday, February 2nd.

Want to take further action? Plan to join Arts Advocacy Day on March 23-24 and bring your arts education advocacy directly to Capitol Hill! Learn more about this event here.

Click the link below to log in and send your message:

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