U.S. Dept of Ed Says Arts Education belongs in Title 1 Program

On June 6, 2013, the California Alliance received a copy of a letter addressed to Title I State Coordinators from Dr. Monique Chism, Director, Student Achievement and School Accountability Programs at the Department of Education. In it, Dr. Chism addresses inquiries she's received about the role of arts education within the Title I, Part A program.  

The letter says it loud and clear: "Activities that support the arts, in conjunction with other activities, can form an important part of an LEA's Title I program." 

The California Alliance, with Arts for LA and others around the country, have asked for clarification and have encouraged the U.S. Department of Education to help clarify some of the confusion that exists around Title I programs that has prevented schools and districts from implementing arts education strategies to achieve Title I goals. 

The letter goes on to explain the specific requirements of Title I funding, that the "activities must help facilitate Title I's overall purpose of improving the achievement of students who are failing or most at risk of failing, to meet the academic content and achievement standards developed by the State, and that "using funds for arts education also must be consistent with other applicable requirements" that determine eligibility.

The Alliance welcomes the letter from the Department of Education and looks forward to advancing learning opportunities that embrace arts education strategies to meet Title I goals. We believe that this work has the potential to significantly increase arts education opportunities for our neediest students. Research by Dr. James Catteral's shows that students in the lowest socio-economic strata exposed to arts education gain the greatest benefits in terms of academic achievement and civic engagement.

Last year, the Alliance published a Policy Paper offering a roadmap for districts who wish to pursue arts education strategies to meet Title 1 goals. Now, we are now working with a cohort of California schools to create a model that can be shared with other schools and districts. With your help, we can ensure that every student has the opportunity to benefit from arts education.