MENC Update

Recap: MENC’s Response to Introduction of H.R. 1891 This is an update on MENC action pursuant to House bill 1891, the “Setting New Priorities in Education Spending Act.” This legislation, which would eliminate 43 education programs in total; including the authorizing language for Arts in Education programming (specifically for the Kennedy Center, Very Special Arts, model programs, and professional development grants), has now been approved by the House Committee on Education and the Workforce. At the conclusion of a heated markup session yesterday, the Committee voted 23-16 in favor of the bill. H.R. 1891 will next proceed to the floor of the full House of Representatives for consideration. When that vote will take place, however, remains unclear. Below, we have outlined the actions that MENC has taken thus far to oppose this legislation: MENC Executive Director Michael Butera issued a call to action in opposition to the legislation, and asked members to contact their elected officials about the importance of maintaining Arts in Education programming. We worked with our colleagues in The Music Education Policy Roundtable to buttress the call to action and to build strength in numbers. We continue to hold conversations and planning sessions with our strategic allies about how best to protect Arts in Education funding moving forward. We joined with 84 other education associations through the Committee for Education Funding in issuing a letter to Congress opposing the legislation. MENC advocacy staff attended yesterday’s markup session of H.R. 1891, and live tweeted about the bill’s progress on MENC Advocacy Groundswell. We have provided regular updates, resources and talking points via both Groundswell and the MENC web site. At this time, we will continue to monitor the legislation closely. We may be asking for your help again in the weeks to come, so please stay tuned. In the meantime, please review an overview of the legislation and the programs targeted for elimination here. Additionally, please continue to check MENC Advocacy Groundswell for updates on ESEA reauthorization generally, as well as advice from members in the states on how to address budget cutting and many other issues of importance to music advocates. Below, a series of talking points and a more detailed overview of jeopardized Arts in Education programming have been provided to aid in your efforts. Thank you, as always, for your support. Advocacy Talking Points Music promotes 21st Century Skills development, offering a balanced education curriculum to students and better preparing them for the workforce Students with 4 years or more of arts and music study score significantly higher on reading, math and writing sections of the SAT College Board test Arts-based learning is known to promote collaboration, creative problem solving, and the ability to apply learning across different disciplines Schools with music programs have significantly higher graduation rates than those without programs Arts in Education Threatened Programming Overviews Very Special Arts VSA offers support for projects that encourage the involvement of disabled people in the arts and foster an increased awareness of the need for arts programs for the disabled. VSA projects include training and technical assistance activities, information services, and public awareness activities. John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts The Kennedy Center offers performances, professional development, and other educational activities that emphasize the importance of the arts in education. The Kennedy Center also works with the Alliance for Arts Education, a network of state arts education committees, to focus on incorporating the arts into school curricula. Professional Development Grants This program supports the implementation of high-quality professional development model programs in elementary and secondary education in music, dance, drama, media arts, and visual arts for arts educators and other instructional staff of K-12 students in high-poverty schools. Model programs This program supports the enhancement, expansion, documentation, evaluation, and dissemination of innovative, cohesive models that demonstrate effectiveness in: -Integrating into and strengthening the arts in the core elementary and middle school curricula -Strengthening arts instruction in those grades -Improving students’ academic performance, including their skills in creating, performing, and responding to the arts For today’s students to succeed tomorrow, they need a comprehensive education that includes music taught by exemplary music educators.

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