Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Arts Education Programs Are In Danger!

A new bill is steadily making its way to the House floor this month that would have a drastic effect on many American arts education programs. It's name is H.R. 1891 or "The Setting New Priorities in Education Spending Act". According to the bill, the arts are not a priority. 

This morning, art advocacy group Americans for the Arts sent out heated a email, urging supporters to take action and let their representatives know that the arts ARE a priority. The email is pasted below:

"Last month, a piece of federal legislation named “Setting New Priorities in Education Spending Act” (HR 1891) was introduced for the purpose of terminating 43 existing federal education programs, including Arts in Education. The Arts in Education program currently funds 57 active education projects around the country, and to date has supported more than 210 competitive grants serving students in high-need schools, as well as the affiliates of the Kennedy Center and VSA arts education programs.

The Arts in Education program also provides critical federal leadership in supporting a well-rounded curriculum throughout our nation’s public schools.

On May 25, the House Education & Workforce Committee approved HR 1891 by a party-line vote of 23 Republicans to 16 Democrats. Americans for the Arts worked with Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ) and other members of that committee who offered an amendment that sought to restore some of these education programs, including arts education, but that amendment failed to pass.

The full House of Representatives may vote on HR 1891 prior to their August Congressional Recess.  The Senate education committee, however, is not expected to consider HR 1891 as Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA) plans on offering a separate, more comprehensive bill to reauthorize the Elementary & Secondary Education Act.

We call on arts advocates to contact their House Representative through our customizable e-alert and request that they oppose HR 1891 because it seeks to terminate the critical federal support directed to arts education. Don’t let this bill narrow the curriculum of our students.

Help us continue this important work by becoming an official member of the Arts Action Fund. If you are not already a member play your part by joining the Arts Action Fund today -- it's free and simple.
Later, executive director Nina Ozlu Tunceli sent an email out herself. Calling the bill's name "misguided", she let AFTA's followers just how urgent this matter was to the cause.
"You need to know that Congress is now trying to cut the only dedicated federal source of support for arts education programs in the country."
Concerned parties can join AFTA's cause by heading over to their E-Advocacy Center and letting representatives hear their opinions. 

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