Thursday, September 23, 2010

Arts Education Task Force Update

The Arts Education Comprehensive Plan Task Force met today in Raleigh for their first meeting and began the arduous task of creating a plan to address arts education needs in public schools K-12... by December 1. 

This message is being sent as a personal reflection from ARTS North Carolina staff and should not be read as formal minutes or as a definitive direction of the Committee. Any responses to this listserv message will be compiled and passed on to Committee leadership.

The five-hour meeting began with an overview of the Basic Education Plan, which was actually adopted by the North Carolina General Assembly in 1984 with final revision in 1995. The BEP, if it had been funded, would have created a dynamic platform of creativity and progressive education in North Carolina. Arts education language is clear and directive in the BEP, which still remains a law in North Carolina. 

NCDPI also provided information on funding formulas and how money is allocated based on number of students and types of instruction.

The work of the Committee began in earnest in break-out sessions, and several themes emerged that will be addressed at future meetings: 
  • Restoring and funding art education
    • What exactly is a mandate?
    • How would arts education be accountable?
  • Who is teaching arts education: highly qualified licensed arts educators or classrooms teachers? What does this mean in actuality, and why is this question relevant?
  • How can a comprehensive plan be sustained throughout a child's entire education, K-12?
  • What is the role of our higher education system in training teachers and supporting arts education?
  • How are different learning styles addressed through arts integration, specifically the A+ Schools program and any other national models?
  • What are models of implementation, and how are districts that have requirements managing in today's economy?
  • What are the benefits of arts education specifically related to drop-out rates and workforce preparedness, and how can they be articulated?
  • How can arts education partner with STEM initiatives (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math)? (One visionary Committee member clearly stated, "one will not work without the other".)

If you would like to see how these questions and powerful issues will be addressed by the Task Force, you can attend any of the meetings as an observer:
  • October 5 – NC Archives and History – 10am - 3pm
  • October 21 – NC Archives and History – 10am - 3pm
  • November 10 – NCDPI – 10am - 3pm

Also, if you have not encouraged your candidates for North Carolina Senate and House to complete ARTS North Carolina's survey, please do so by directing candidates to:

85% of the 58 responses so far answered "yes" to this question: Will you support funding and legislation that make the arts part of the core curriculum and after-school learning opportunities?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Old-Fashioned Way

Last Friday, ARTS North Carolina sent a Call to Action to activate our electronic program, Capwiz, so you could quickly e-mail candidates a request to complete our election survey. It didn't work. We learned with the first call about a problem that the data they use is from the 2000 Census.

On that same day, ARTS North Carolina staff and Board met with a high ranking Legislator who told us that our survey was very, very important. Not only will the candidates' responses be important in your decision to vote, but how they respond serves as a base line to begin conversations after the election.

We believe that your membership demonstrates an understanding of the importance of arts advocacy and that you will go the extra mile on this important survey initiative. PLEASE:
  • Know your candidates running for North Carolina House, Senate, US Senate, and US House If in doubt, go to the State Board of Elections website (
  • Check this page to see if your candidates have responded (
  • Use your web browser to search for the candidate's web page, which should give you an e-mail address or a "contact" form
  • If the candidate doesn't have a web page, contact your local Board of Elections
  • Send a brief message that says:
Be sure and include your name and address so the candidate can verify that you are a voter in their district.

With your help, we can get this done. Thank you.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Take Action for Arts Education

September 12 - 18 is proclaimed Arts in Education Week by US Congress Resolution 275 (
Publicly recognizing the value of arts education is an opportunity and a privilege. Please take these actions in service to our educators, our children, our economy, and our civic interests.
  • Write a short opinion letter and send to your local internet and print media.
  • Follow the example of Pitt County:
    Get on the agendas of the County Commissioners, City Council, and Local School Board for five minutes. Bring a student artist or two. Make a short presentation on the value of arts education.
  • Focus all your social media communications in support of arts education for the entire week.
  • Invite a legislator (and local elected officials) to go with you to an arts class or program in your school (good idea to check with the school first).
Imagine for one moment that all 100 counties had activists who followed these suggestions. Just imagine.
ARTS North Carolina snail-mailed over 300 letters today to candidates running for statewide and national positions. We asked them to complete a very short survey about their positions on public funding for the arts and funding and policy for arts education. In one week, we will send you a Call to Action and give you the links to your district's statewide candidates, and if your candidate has not responded, we will give you instructions about urging their response. You can check out our Election 2010 information as it goes up on our web at