Advocacy update

July 15, 2013

The EdTA Advocacy Update posts theatre and other arts education news of interest bi-weekly and alerts as needed.

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Standards news: public review complete, NCCAS receives NEA award

More than 3,000 individuals participated in the just completed public review of the draft PreK-8 Standards, including 245 theatre reviewers. The teams will meet in Reston, Virginia, August 1-5, to review the feedback and begin work on the high school standards.

The National Coalition for Core Arts Standards (NCCAS), the partnership of organizations (including EdTA) guiding the standards project, has been awarded a $30,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to support the convening of an Artist Advisory Council at the August meeting of the NCCAS writing teams and leadership.

Senate HHS Committee proposes $27M for Arts in Education programs

The Senate Labor, Health, Human Services and Education Committee has proposed an FY14 fiscal bill that included $27 million for the Arts in Education programs. The budget request also includes funds to implement Effective Teaching and Learning strategies for a Well-Rounded Education program, but no money specifically for arts in education. The AIE funding is used for competitive awards for national non-profit organizations engaged in arts education, professional development activities, model arts education programs, evaluation and dissemination, and to support an ongoing partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts.

Two new ESEA reauthorization bills proposed

Two different Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA, formerly known as No Child Left Behind) bills have been proposed. Both try to address the long expired (since 2007) act, with some specific references to arts education.

The first, by Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa, proposes a Well-Rounded fund of $500 million that would be awarded directly to the states on a formula basis in which states would apply to the U.S. Department of Education for “well-rounded” funding based on a needs assessment. Such state applications may cover one or more of the following eligible subject areas: arts, civics and government, economics, environmental education, financial literacy, foreign languages, geography, health education, history, music, physical education, social studies. A competitive priority is given to applications that integrate a subject area with reading, math, English or science.

The second proposed bill, by Representative George Miller of California includes $150 million within FY14 to be administered by the U.S. Department of Education, through a peer-reviewed competitive grant process, to states or LEAs in partnership with an institution of higher education, nonprofit organization, or library/museum. Funds are allocated to subject areas by the following percentages: American history, civics education, geography (30%); economic and financial literacy, entrepreneurship (10%); foreign language (20%), arts education (20%); gifted and talented (10%). The proposal also includes support for national initiative, and professional development activity support to the national non-profit organizations in the covered subject areas. The Miller bill was a counter proposal to H.R. 5—the Student Success Act—issued in June by Representative John Kline which would maintain the expired No Child Left Behind’s testing regime in place but leave the actual school improvement decisions to states, and combine a broad range of education programs—including those for migrant children, delinquent students, English-Language learners, and others—into a single funding stream. H.R. 5 includes no provisions for arts education.

Capitol Hill briefing scheduled to address new wireless microphone concerns

There will be a Capitol Hill briefing the week of July 22 that will address concerns over a new FCC proposal to move wireless microphones out of the two safe haven channels established in 2009. The two channels were designated following an FCC sale of wireless microphone “white space” digital spectrum to private companies who intend to use the spectrum space for new personal handheld devices. The move into a new spectrum area required wireless microphone users to buy new equipment that would allow them to operate wireless devices legally. The Wireless White Space Coalition (of which EdTA is a member) is seeking a full hearing of the FCC’s proposal to gain assurance that the new safe haven challenges will be maintained or that Congress will allocate funding for theatres, churches, schools and other wireless microphone users to offset the cost of new equipment prompted by a new spectrum relocation.