Articles

Setting the Stage: Arts Education Policy and Advocacy at the State Level


Narric Rome: Again, hello, my name is Narric Rome with Americans for the Arts and I’m back to
set the stage. So I have a couple of slides to set the stage
for this summit and for the beginning of this discussion. I’ll lay out a little bit more about the State
Policy Pilot Program and then also set up some of the speakers and what we have ahead of us on the program
today. So starting a little bit at the beginning
so to speak with a little education look back. So as many of you or all of you know that in 2002, just let’s start there for a point of reference, No Child Left Behind was signed into law and over the course of its five year authorization, it finished in 2007 and then from then for a number of years Congress was not able to reauthorize it and due to a whole number of factors, the law would designate schools as failing when they failed to perform
to meet various measures of accountability and
up at 2011, it was measured that about 50 percent of America’s
schools were failing and this resulted in enormous
amounts or if not, all governors issuing statements of concern and urging Congress to reauthorize
the law and as such, governors, chief state school
officers and all those involved in education policy
became alarmed as to the continuation of No Child
Left Behind. In 2014 we launched the State Policy Pilot
Program at the National Conference of State Legislatures, the purpose of the program as I’ve mentioned was about trying to build a pipeline between federal policy, state policy and local action. As those years progressed, in 2015, by then almost every state had received a waiver from the federal government, from the U.S. Department of Education relieving them from various elements of No Child Left Behind and
later, at the very end of that year, just in time
for the holidays, No Child Left Behind was reauthorized and
was renamed in legislation that was named the Every Student
Succeeds Act. That led to then the final year of the Obama
Administration in an implementation phase, it was Secretary
John King’s year in office at the U.S. Department of Education and put into place many features or launched
many features of the new federal education policy law. And then this year, in 2017, it has been roughly, to summarize, a year of state accountability
plans in states preparing for what their new responsibilities were, are under ESSA. Over those course of all those years and through the 2000s, there have been national
advocacy efforts to try and strengthen arts education in federal
policy, these are just a sampling of some of the 90
plus national organizations that take part in trying to
convince decision makers around the country and on Capitol Hill
how the arts can be strengthened in federal policy and
over the course of those years, tried to maintain a steady
and consistent policy pressure on members as they were seeking
to reauthorize No Child Left Behind and eventually the resulting Every Student Succeeds where
there were about a dozen what we identified as pro arts education elements in the new law. At the same time and throughout these years, the Arts Education Partnership has issued
ArtScan, a body of research based on state education
policy what is in statue around the country in state and it was based on some of this early– or the continuing research that identifies specific education policies in the arts and then it itemizes by state what is currently
in statute. And this is a continual changing and research project that is incredibly valuable to understanding the context at hand. And so with those pieces in place when we started designing the State Policy Pilot
Program, we felt that there were a couple of pieces
that were essential to its design. First, the need for knowledge sharing of arts education policy,
research like the Arts Education Partnership’s ArtScan
info, understanding of other efforts taking place
in states around the country and also the new federal
provisions that were being designed. At the same time, the National Coalition for
Core Art Standards had moved through an effort of writing new standards in each arts discipline, in visual
arts, dance, theater, music and media arts and those standards have since then and continued to make their way through states
approving, adopting and revising their standards in the
arts. And then also, at the end and starting in
2015 and 2016 as I mentioned, trying to understand the new
arts friendly provisions in the Every Student Succeeds Act
and understanding what the shift to the states
meant. All of those pieces were what were wrapped into the design of the State Policy Pilot
Program. Now this is a graphic that helps to succinctly, if you don’t have a Venn in your program,
you’re not doing something right and so this Venn
diagram itemizes the three strategies that we tried
to put into place. And as you can see, the first strategy refers to much of the I’ve already– some of the
research I’ve cited and the need for further products
and so utilizing data, trying to understand the
gap between policy and practice at the state level, understanding
some of the status and condition of arts education
in the states and then also a further look into what has
been supported at the U.S. Department of Education in arts
education grant programs. The second strategy, most of the folks here
in the room was working with states directly and so ten states were a part of this pilot program and then we also supported two national what we called and this may sound like an
oxymoron, two national state by state campaigns which
were on supporting the adoption and revision of the national state standards and also understanding the new ESSA law. And then the third one, part very well symbolized by why we’re here today, network and knowledge sharing, this was meeting with state advocacy groups and also helping
to support an annual state policy symposia. I’ll come back to that in a little bit. The ten states that participated in the State Policy Pilot Program are here on the screen, going from west to
east, California, Arizona, Wyoming, Oklahoma, Minnesota, Arkansas, Michigan, North Carolina, New Jersey
and Massachusetts, they were the coalition of the willing, they
had projects that they were working on, projects that they
wanted to bring to a collective impact setting to try and leverage the group’s efforts together and so for three years, teams from these ten states have convened multiple times a year in various conferences and also formally with the program itself. This is us meeting at one of the very early
stages, introducing ourselves to each other and understanding what each of our state projects were based
on, we then finally realized we needed to stand and formally take pictures.Narric Rome: This is a meeting in Washington
D.C. at the Kennedy Center and then this was earlier this year at the final working group session
of the State Policy Pilot Program. I think many of the people in this picture are in this room
today. Now the materials that you saw when you walked
in and the materials that are online at americansforthearts.org/sp3 which include the case studies from each of
the states, the summary report from Americans for the
Arts and some other supporting resources, they highlight and capture these four themes that I’d like to present to you briefly. Applying the Federal-State-Local Policy Pipeline, again, for years working under No Child Left
Behind there was a continual barrier that arts advocates would find in either some of the budget frustrations, appropriations frustrations with competition
from many other priorities that No Child Left Behind
identified, it was recognized in the pressure on testing,
teaching to the test and the need for meeting adequate
yearly progress and then finally I think one of the
critical ones was the frustrations we would hear from
state policy makers or that they would identify that they believed the reason why they couldn’t support arts
education more strongly was because of No Child Left
Behind, it was the federal government’s fault in that
case. In many ways they were right, in many ways that was the place to blame. And so understanding the tiers of policy jurisdiction, the federal, the state and local in education
policy became a catalyzing desire of the State Policy
Pilot Program, it’s not exactly the most fun endeavor to
try and figure all that out in education policy, those of you that are all involved in that
in these multiple tiers know but it is certainly
for advocates that are parents, that are stakeholders that
don’t follow policy developments on a daily, monthly, yearly basis, it’s very hard to activate them to support their student’s, their child’s
education if it’s a very convoluted pipeline and so we identified through this project how
to try and clarify some of those tiers. Doing so, we also of course perhaps not surprisingly renewed our faith in utilizing data to support policy development and advocacy efforts. Things such as general population polling
data to state department of education data on the status and condition of who is receiving what kind of education in the arts at the
state level or at the state agency and how they collected that data and how they reported that data
out. Those kinds of inputs are critical to understanding how a state team can then
best tackle their state advocacy and support arts education throughout the state. And then as I mentioned, embracing the power of convening, arts education like many other policy areas at the state level, the leaders in those areas, it is sometimes a challenge to meet face to face, it is a challenge even in the same state to see each other on a regular basis where you are free
either your daily work or you have a set specific
time to make plans to provide critical thought and to put the brain power into how your state team and how you could work to further the project’s
goals. So Americans for the Arts through the State
Policy Pilot Program would fund the travel of all ten state team members, well two from each
state and then as many that would attend to the two meetings each year over the course
of three years that took place because having everybody face to face in a room was identified before, during and now after SP3 has been a critical element to the success of the project. And then finally and related to that, sharing knowledge among state leaders. It is certainly as you might assume, a value
for arts education leaders to be able to be on the
same page, it is even more powerful when you’re able
to coordinate with broader education sector efforts in your state and have the arts be one of
the stakeholders at the table among those state leaders. This has identified or we identified that for the reason why we wanted to introduce
this at the National Conference of State Legislatures back in 2014, it’s why we are very pleased
to work with Education Commission on the States now
and many of the other public partners such as the U.S. Conference of Mayors, National Lieutenant
Governors Association, county officials and other elected officials, decision makers in the education sphere and outside of the education
sphere. Some of the project outcomes, I won’t go into
these in detail, they will be key elements for the presentations yet to come in the breakouts
this afternoon, but in terms of the overall products that
we have at the end of three years. In the report section, as I mentioned in those
strategies that I identified previously, we have a new
state status report, it’s a review of some of the preexisting
data on arts education provision around the country. We have what we called a gap analysis which harkens back to the gap that I mentioned between policy being on the books, being in
the statute but not seeing it recognized in practice and
there’s a huge discretion area for state policy leaders and implementers there. And then also, the U.S. Department of Education has been
running a specific arts and education grant program
in a number of ways and since 2002 about 450 million dollars over the course of 15 years has been put into arts education in roughly about 25 to 40 million blocks each year helping to power arts education research in three and four year projects, these are the gold standard in arts education studies and to
be able to rely on that is still a continuing bright
spot at the federal government level and this is
a report that looked at some of the trends and analysis from the findings of those significant
studies. Then also we today will be releasing the case
studies from each of the ten states that participated
in the State Policy Pilot Program, we have their
final case studies online and in print out front and then also there’s some appendix information that provides not just pictures of what they did but also some of the agendas from their meetings, some of the resolutions or findings of their research in the state, some of the legislation that they developed and worked with, with state leaders and other supplementary documents like that from each of their states. And then also we had earlier in the program some project narratives that helped lay out what it is they’re doing, why it works in their state and what they hope to– what their vision is. And then finally, on the goal of SP3 for– we are culminating today in this summit and we also met yesterday with the State Arts Action Network which is
a dynamic of state education leaders and state arts and arts education leaders coming together repeatedly throughout the year and as I mentioned we’ve launched an Americans for
the Arts, the new State Educational Policy Network that will be a part of our series of networks to try and broaden the advocacy and policy understanding behind arts education around the country at the state level. And then finally, looking forward and back, in the last five
years, we’ve both hosted and co-hosted an annual State Policy Symposium mostly with the Arts
Education Partnership and that will continue into next
year as well. So I’m going to stop there, the next two presentations will cover two specific sections of our findings
and the report that’s coming out today. One will be on the policy development elements of what was accomplished and what is underway in the ten states and so that will be the
first panel that will be up here following my presentation and then second one will be on advocacy infrastructure, the science of organizing, building stakeholders, joining coalitions and the like and how the
partners work to accomplish that. I’d like to close if I may with just a couple, a few other mentions of some of the guests that we have here. I want to provide a special welcome to both Jeremy Anderson from the Education
Commission of the States and Jane Best from the Arts
Education Partnership which is housed at the Education Commission
of the States, and I mentioned, for the last couple of years Americans for the Arts has been very pleased to partner with the Arts Education Partnership and ECS both on the State Policy Symposiums
and some other projects we have that we’ll discuss shortly. The next one, the next Policy Symposium by
the way, State Policy Symposium will be March 12th
in– 10th in Washington, D.C. And then also I want to recognize on the second panel, we’ll be joined by Andrew
Baumann of the Global Strategies Group, a communications and polling firm in New York City where in
addition to the many advocacy initiatives that Global
Strategy Group undertakes, it also managed the most recent
visit to Capitol Hill by Lin-Manuel Miranda, which you may have seen on social media because for about a day he was overtaking Capitol
Hill with some of his posts and it was wonderful to
work with them on Mr. Miranda’s visit to Capitol Hill where
he, my boss and I were able to speak to a number
of senators about arts and arts education policy and funding, so I’m happy to have him joining as well. And so that’s the introduction, that is the
setting of the stage for the next two panels coming
up, I once again welcome you to Denver and for those of you who live here in Denver, thank you for having us, it’s a wonderful
city and have a wonderful day. Thank you very much for your attention and thinking on what the State Policy Pilot Program has been and what
the learnings from it can be into the future as we all try
to work on this new environment in Every Student Succeeds
and education policy at the state level. Thank you.

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