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Arts Education and Title 1 Funding: What you can do
January 13, 2014

A primary mission of the California Alliance for Arts Education is to ensure that every student, not just those who are fortunate to live in affluent communities, receives the benefits of arts education as a component of a comprehensive high-quality education. This commitment led to our involvement in Title I funding for public education.

Title I refers to federal funding intended to meet the needs of low-performing children in high-poverty schools by closing the achievement gap between high- and low-performing children, specifically minority and disadvantaged students, and by strengthening accountability to ensure that all students meet challenging standards. Currently California receives $1.6 billion in Title I funds each year. In the Bay Areas five counties there are currently 523 Title I schools, including numerous community schools.

<--break->The prevailing attitude and practice with regard to the use of Title I funds to support...


Decision on Dance and Theatre Credential Postponed
September 16, 2013

In late September, the Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) will hold its next meeting where it was expected to render a decision about whether to add a single subject credential for dance and theater. That decision has been delayed until the Commission’s December meeting. Although the state's education code requires instruction in four artistic disciplines, California is currently one of only a handful states that does not offer a credential for dance and theater teachers. In June, the California Alliance and other organizations supporting the new credential sent letters of support to the Commission. We will report back on the results of these efforts after the December meeting. 


According to the California Dance Education Association, without such credentials and adequate teacher prep programs in Dance and Theatre, California school districts “are hard-pressed to recruit, contract and retain” highly-qualified dance and theater teacher, and thus, “sustain robust Dance and Theatre programs and fully implement the Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA...

Speak Up about How the Local Control Funding Formula Gets Implemented
August 5, 2013

Regional Meetings Held This & Next Week 

In June, California passed historic reforms to our school financing system. In the coming months, the State Board of Education (SBE) and California Department of Education (CDE) will be formulating how the new Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) will be implemented at the district level. Community and stakeholder engagement is critical to this process.
Speak up at regional meetings about the positive impact of the arts on students, especially high needs students. The SBE and CDE are holding a series of regional meetings to gather stakeholder input and ideas to inform implementation of LCFF. Sessions begin at 9:30 AM and end at or before noon at each location.
Advocates Make the Case for the Arts in New School Accountability Measures
July 8, 2013

In recent years, the Alliance has advocated to broaden the ways that school success is measured beyond standardized tests. Under No Child Left Behind, standardized tests are the only measure of achievement and are tied to high stakes accountability measures, giving schools an incentive to “teach to the test” and to ignore the broader spectrum of what it means to provide a complete education for the whole child. 

Those narrow test-related expectations fail to encompass the responsibility our public schools have to prepare students to meet the challenges and expectations of the workforce of the 21st century. As we have moved into an economy driven by ideas and innovation, our schools must respond by providing all our students with the opportunity to develop creative skills. For this reason, the Alliance has made this issue a priority in recent years, sponsoring legislation to create a Creativity Index for schools and most recently, mobilizing advocates to weigh in on new accountability measures being considered by the California Department of Education (CDE). 
U.S. Dept of Ed Says Arts Education belongs in Title 1 Program
June 10, 2013

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...
CTC considers Dance and Theater Credential
June 10, 2013
On June 13, 2013, the Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) heard a series of action items that included the Teacher Advisory Panel (TAP) recommendations on how to update and improve teacher preparation in California, one of which was for the creation of a single subject credential in the areas of theatre and dance. 
The TAP provided a strong rational for creating these new credentials including distinct subject-specific standards within the Visual and Performing Arts Content Standards, and highlighting the intentional differences between the VAPA Dance/Physical Education and VAPA Theatre/English Language Arts standards. 
Multiple documents supporting the TAP recommendation from state and national dance and theatre organizations were entered into evidence. Survey data from statewide survey on the TAP recommendations also indicated strong support for immediate action on the credential recommendation.  And numerous organizations sent ...
Response to the Governor's Revised Budget
May 17, 2013

We applaud the Governor’s commitment to restoring vital funding for our schools.  The past few years have been devastating and have taken a huge toll on our state’ ability to deliver a well-rounded curriculum.

We understand the Governor’s goal to shift away from the many categorical funding streams that have characterized school finance.  We agree local school districts should be held accountable for student results, with less focus on compliance with a myriad of complex separate funding sources.

However, the proposed elimination of most categorical funds – including the Art and Music Block Grant – risks placing many vital programs in jeopardy. Districts are still digging out of a huge budgetary hole.  The removal of categorical programs may lead to the near term elimination of vital programs and services, along with the key staff and invaluable expertise they bring.

To encourage an effective transition away from the prior categorical funding, we propose a portion of the existing categorical funds be set aside for the next three years as matching...
Five Facebook Tips from an Arts Education Advocate and Social Media Whiz
April 24, 2013

The Challenge: How does a short on time local advocate keep her Facebook page current and dynamic? 

The Strategy: Use these five tips to increase the quality and number of your posts, while decreasing the amount of time you spend on Facebook! 

The Story: When it comes to Facebook, Suzanne Oehler the Local Organizer for the San Joe Alliance for Arts Education has an advantage! She’s a professional. 

In addition to being a dedicated advocate for arts education and dedicate parent, she owns a communications company, Yapper Girl, that helps nonprofit organizations use the Internet and social networks to increase awareness, reach more potential donors, and increase donations for their fundraising campaigns and events. The California Alliance is happy to have her on our team – and grateful that this month, she’s offered some savvy strategies for getting more out of your Facebook efforts – in less time! 

Five Facebook favorites for arts education...
AB 580 Would Restore Funding to California Arts Council
April 1, 2013


In March, Californians for the Arts convened arts leaders and state legislators in Sacramento about the new bill AB 580, which would increase appropriations for the California Arts Council from $1M to $75M. The bill, authored by Assembly Member Adrin Nazarian (D—Los Angeles County), will be formally introduced to the state assembly when the language has been finalized. The California Arts Council is a state agency in Sacramento that supports arts programs across the state with granting and education programs. Its budget was slashed 97% in 2003, bringing California’s per-capita arts spending to 49th in the entire United States, ahead of only Kansas, which had eliminated public funding for the arts entirely. The funds from AB 580 would bring California’s per-capita arts spending up to 12th in the nation, or roughly $2.00 per person. The CAC is currently doing strategic planning to determine which of its programs would be revived if the bill passes....

ACTION Alert: Protect Categorical Funding for the Arts
March 19, 2013

The Governor’s proposed 2013-14 budget would eliminate almost all categorical programs in the name of local control and flexibility. While there are merits to this shift, it may also result in some students having less access to arts education. 
Since it’s adoption in 2007, the Arts and Music block grant has provided schools with a specific funding stream for arts education. Without these categorical funds, schools may be unable or unwilling to support programs that provide access to arts education. 

Historically, students in high performing schools in more affluent communities have greater access to the arts, while students in underserved communities who might benefit the most from a more engaging and well-rounded curriculum receive far less.  The Alliance has written a letter to the Governor and to the Legislature urging them to give careful thought to this issue and we have made several recommendations for how...