Pitt County arts advocates Holly Garriott and Jane Behan and ARTS North Carolina staff met Tuesday with Representative Marion McLawhorn, a former librarian and true champion for the arts. At the breakfast table we articulated why arts education policy must be legislated. Arts education is a "ready now" strategy to address issues of retention, rigor, and 21st Century Skills; we do not need to invent new programs when strong and viable arts education programs are available. The gap between what public schools need and what we have to offer is an issue of awareness, recognition, and value. If those who make decisions on behalf of schools don't connect public education needs with arts education, then our Legislative champions must have the vision and courage to implement policies that utlized the arts to improve education. The gap cannot be about resources; otherwise arts education would have more than flourished in the better economic environments. Arts education as an essential core subject has always been under resourced and reduced to a "nice to have" option. NOW is the time to legislate and create arts education policy and be positioned when an improving economic climate can provide necessary resources. If we wait until the state budget improves, we will have lost an opportunity.