What You CAN Do: Save The Arts & Arts-in-Education

I called for a Fight For Education: Do Something! on this blog a few days ago. In the past two days, I have gotten a lot of support from people who read BornStoryteller and, out of “the blue,” I have gotten a number of emails with links to organizations calling for our help.

I will keep this short on my part because I really want you to click on the links, read, and hopefully not only take up the call for action but that you will also pass it on. That is as important: PASS IT ON. Let others in your network(s) know you care, and you are bringing this to their attention because you care about the state of Education and The Arts, in and out of schools.

Below, you will find some links to sites, and two postings. There are more places to check out. Look for that in future postings.

Let’s Save The Arts

Contacting the Congress

Contact the White House: Education

US Senators: Write to Them!

Americans for the Arts Action Fund

Here is the letter I got from them:

Last month, a piece of federal legislation named “Setting New Priorities in Education Spending Act” (HR 1891) was introduced for the purpose of terminating 43 existing federal education programs, including Arts in Education. The Arts in Education program currently funds 57 active education projects around the country, and to date has supported more than 210 competitive grants serving students in high-need schools, as well as the affiliates of the Kennedy Center and VSA arts education programs.

The Arts in Education program also provides critical federal leadership in supporting a well-rounded curriculum throughout our nation’s public schools.

On May 25, the House Education & Workforce Committee approved HR 1891 by a party-line vote of 23 Republicans to 16 Democrats. Americans for the Arts worked with Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ) and other members of that committee who offered an amendment that sought to restore some of these education programs, including arts education, but that amendment failed to pass.

The full House of Representatives may vote on HR 1891 prior to their August Congressional Recess.  The Senate education committee, however, is not expected to consider HR 1891 as Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA) plans on offering a separate, more comprehensive bill to reauthorize the Elementary & Secondary Education Act.

We call on arts advocates to contact their House Representative through our customizable e-alert and request that they oppose HR 1891 because it seeks to terminate the critical federal support directed to arts education. Don’t let this bill narrow the curriculum of our students.

Another email that piggy backed the one above:

Did you call your PA State Senator to ask for support for state arts funding?

Posted by Jenny L. Hershour at 10:45am

Have you contacted your PA State Senator about restoring funds to the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts at the levels that Gov. Corbett set in March? He proposed $8.262 million for grants to the arts and $895,000 for administration of the PCA.

If you have contacted your senator, please send me a message at jlh@citizensfortheartsinpa.org to tell me about your conversation. Did your senator respond to your call? If so, what did he/she say? If not, will you call the office again to ask for a response?

If you haven’t contacted your senators and representatives, the time to do so is now. The budget bill came out of the Senate Appropriations Committee yesterday and is being considered by the full Senate today. Time is running out…if you care about state arts funding, call your legislators today. Contact information can be found at http://capwiz.com/artsusa/pa by typing your zipcode in the box at the top right hand corner of the page.

Either way, email me (jlh@citizensfortheartsinpa.org) and let me know how your calls went.

Jenny Hershour
Citizens for the Arts in PA

And now, for something completely different:

How Not to Save the Arts

4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Pen Palatable
    Jun 15, 2011 @ 14:34:47

    My Dear Folks,

    I choose to forego the formalities of the political bureaucracy when it comes to public and private educational funding. I emphasize with you all. But, living in the Deep South has given me cause to throw in the towel on our “little ones”, for my own peace-of-mind. I have rallied the political cause for the last time.

    Having been a certified public school teacher, it was part the educational rigors of college that taught me that many different opinions would engulf my classroom. Children, especially pre-adolescents, have diverse views on most matters. My first professional task was easy, so I thought – to teach a sixth grade class how to write a three paragraph essay with three sentences each -easy to do, right? So, like a good little soldier, I went to the education supply store and purchased a few books-on-tapes so the little citizens would not have to read – thoughtful on my part, I must say.

    After the first story was heard, I calmly presented a diagram on how to structure their essay and wrote a couple of examples, as such. So, these little futures-of-America set to it, and when my thirty-two students turned in their papers, half of them had pictures drawn on them, twenty-five percent were doodled on with a couple of verses of makeshift hip-hop poetry, and the rest showed that an effort had been put forth with refreshingly written, legible sentences. To make a long-story-short, after nine months of sheer torture, 50%of my students failed the class. So, I hit the delete button – it was my first and final year as a teacher.

    My two daughters were fortunate to have enjoyed a Christian based, private school education from Kindergarten through 8th grade. Upon entering high school, however, I transferred them into the public school system, so that could get a well-rounded view on what life was really about. I wanted them to make up their own minds as to their religious beliefs. They attended churches of their own choosing and even went on church vacations with their fellowship. Now in college, they are both professed agnostics, and I am proud of them both. Nonetheless, they still wear their gold crosses in respect, a gift from their old dad. I wanted my children to understand what I learned while teaching school, that there are countless opinions in the world and sometimes you must be open-minded and take them with a grain of salt, especially in a public forum.

    It is sad to say, but I have lost hope in our education process. Furthermore, I truly believe that “parenting” should become a required field of study in K-12. God knows that the children are being forsaken by the masses, with love and civility being deprived of them on a daily basis. Where are they going to go, and what are they going to do? I dread the thought.

    Disgruntled from Louisiana,

    Pen Palatable


    • bornstoryteller
      Jun 15, 2011 @ 14:51:26

      Hi Jackie: I hope you see that throwing in the towel, at any level, is what is hurting the whole system. You do need to do what you feel is best for yourself, I get that. But, if we all throw it in or don’t try?


  2. Dangerous Linda
    Jun 17, 2011 @ 22:58:52

    Stuart — Thank you for all you do!


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