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How to Join a New National Effort to Support Arts Education

Thespians singing on stage at the International Thespian Festival

The National Coalition for Core Arts Standards has launched Arts ARE Education, a national campaign encouraging school districts to continue to fund and support K-12 arts education programs — including theatre — in the 2021-22 school year. Given expected state and district budget cuts, calls for remedial education in tested subject areas, and the continued need for PPE equipment, NCCAS expects that arts programs across all disciplines will be at risk.

The campaign asks advocates of all ages to take three action steps through its website:

  • Sign the Arts ARE Education Pledge committing your support for arts education.
  • Reach out to your district school board, asking them to pass the Arts ARE Education Resolution committing that they will continue funding for district arts education programs next school year.
  • Write a letter to your state legislators urging them to support full funding for arts education in their district and asking them to reach out to the schools in their districts to do the same.
  • Participate in Arts Education Capitol Hill month in March, in which advocates will make virtual visits to Senate and House legislators to make the case for arts education support at the federal level through the Department of Education. More details will be posted on the website in the coming weeks regarding how to participate and prepare for the Capitol Hill visits.

EdTA policy and advocacy advisor James Palmarini said the campaign’s launch is the beginning of a long-term effort to mobilize supporters of arts education for all students. “While the current campaign focus is on district budgeting for the 2021-22 school year, I fully expect the need for this initiative to continue for a considerable time. Even with federal assistance, the impact of the pandemic and the resulting economic fallout will be shaping public education for many years.”

He added that the campaign is also mindful that students of color in high poverty districts are most likely to lose arts education access, given the limited resources the district will have to continue with arts programs. “I think the Arts ARE Education campaign offers theatre education advocates a great opportunity to raise their voices in a very grassroots way that can make a real difference for our students and the field of theatre education.”

If you’d like to get involved or learn more about the campaign, register and mark your calendar for a one-hour town hall webinar February 2 at 5 p.m. ET. Sponsored by EdTA and the American Alliance for Theatre and Education, both NCCAS members, the webinar will present the campaign’s strategies and resources and facilitate a dialogue among attendees about the challenges and successes of their school theatre programs.


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