The Educational Theatre Association’s Advocacy Leadership Network (ALN) will begin accepting applications for new state chapter members on November 15. Launched in 2017, the ALN is designed to train state adult members in grassroots advocacy efforts on behalf of theatre and other arts education. The network, launched to address a new era of public education led with the passage of the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) in 2015, selected members from 10 states in its first year and added seven more states in 2018. ESSA gave greater responsibility to state and district decision-makers to determine how and what education is delivered to their K-12 students. The new state ownership demands coordinated and ongoing advocacy by theatre and other arts educators to ensure that their disciplines are appropriately represented in school, district, and state decision-making regarding curriculum, professional development, funding, staffing, and other critical issues.
“The ALN is beginning to mature as an activist network,” said James Palmarini, EdTA director of educational policy. “Current members now have a few years of experience and have begun to focus on more specific state and local advocacy initiatives, such as theatre access for rural and small states, and Career and Technical Education. We think adding some additional state EdTA representatives will strengthen the outreach and impact of the network even more. ”
According to Palmarini, along with providing advocacy training and support, the EdTA national office will cover the travel and room/board cost of attendance for new 2019 representatives at an ALN in-person meeting in Cincinnati in April of 2019. A new ALN funding model will also provide some financial support for all members to help offset the cost of attending EdTA’s Theatre Education Advocacy Day or other advocacy-related events, such as a state arts advocacy day.
Interested members should review the complete 2019 ALN application guidelines. The application process closes on December 15.