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Arts Policy Brief Sent to Obama Transition Office

posted by Christopher Howard — Dec 08, 2008

The Arts Education Network Weekly News reports that several national arts and arts education organizations have submitted a policy brief on the arts to President-elect Barack Obama and his transition team. The brief covers recommendations for the National Endowment for the Arts; cultural exchange; arts education in school, work, and life; national service and the arts; and the role of the arts in nonprofit communities. The brief also requests that the incoming president appoint a senior-level administration official to coordinate arts and cultural policy.

According to the brief, “The arts and cultural community welcomes the opportunity to communicate with President-Elect Obama and his staff in re-imagining how the federal government can inspire and support creativity in communities nationwide through robust policies that advance participation in the arts for all Americans.”

The following are the recommendations proposed for arts education:

  • Prevent economic status and geographic location from denying students a comprehensive arts education
  • Ensure equitable access to the full benefits of arts education when reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act so that all, not just some, students can learn to their full potential
  • Exercise leadership to encourage arts-based and other creative learning environments for academically at-risk students participating in Title I-funded programs
  • Retain the arts in the definition of core academic subjects of learning and reauthorize the Arts in Education Programs of the US Department of Education
  • Fund after-school arts learning opportunities and support arts-education partnerships between schools and community arts and cultural organizations
  • Move federal policy beyond simply declaring the arts as a core academic subject to actually implementing arts education as an essential subject of learning
  • Require states to issue annual public reports on the local status and condition of arts education and other core academic subjects
  • Improve national data collection and research in arts education
  • Invest in professional development opportunities for teachers in the arts
  • Deploy arts education as an economic-development strategy
  • Authorize and encourage inclusion of arts learning in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) initiatives in order to foster imagination and innovation. Without the arts, STEM falls short of its potential to advance education and workforce development
  • Fully preparing students with the creative skills they will need to advance our nation’s position in the twenty-first-century global economy requires implementing the arts as a core subject of learning and ensuring that all students attain cultural literacy
  • Ensure that the full range of federal initiatives that advance workforce development, such as Department of Labor programs, provide training in the skills of creativity and imagination

Among the many joining organizations are Americans for the Arts, the American Association of Museums, the Association of Art Museum Directors, the Literary Network, the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, the National Council for Traditional Arts, and the National Performance Network.