Friday, July 30, 2010

Press Release: ASCD, Partner Organizations Release ESEA Recommendations

ASCD and Partner Education Organizations Release Consensus Policy Recommendations for Well-Rounded Education in ESEA & Advocate for the Arts

Alexandria, VA (July 29, 2010)—During a policy briefing on Capitol Hill today, ASCD and 20 major education organizations, which represent a wide array of subject areas, released consensus recommendations for how the federal government can better support core subjects beyond reading and math.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

New fine arts requirement for Texas schools

New fine arts requirement for Texas schools: "A new state regulation requires middle and high school students to take one fine arts credit, starting this school year."


Aretha Franklin & Condoleezza Rice Perform Benefit for Arts Education

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Condoleezza Rice is no stranger to the whims of royalty. So when the Queen of Soul herself, Aretha Franklin, decided the two should get together to play a song or two for charity, it was decreed.

The former U.S. secretary of state and Franklin took the stage Tuesday evening at Philadelphia's Mann Music Center in a rare duet for Rice, the classically trained pianist, and Franklin, the divalicious voice of a generation. Their aim was to raise money for urban children and awareness for music and the arts.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Going From STEM to STEAM

The Arts Have a Role in America's Future, Too

by Joseph Piro, Education Week

Published Online: March 9, 2010
Published in Print: March 10, 2010, as Going From STEM to STEAM Commentary

In education circles, STEM—the teaching of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics—has been gathering, for want of a better descriptor, “alpha” status. Not only has President Barack Obama announced a $250 million public-private initiative to recruit and train more STEM teachers, but also the U.S. Department of Education’s Race to the Top Fund grants competition is giving bonus points for applications that stress STEM instruction.

Yet, in the midst of all the STEM frenzy, we may want to do something riskier, and more imaginative, to save the country: turn STEM funding into STEAM funding. Inserting the letter A, for the arts, into the acronym could afford us even greater global advantage.

Monday, July 26, 2010


The meeting was called to order at 7:36 PM (CST) when a quorum of members were present. Eight members were present for the meeting.

A. IN ATTENDANCE: Dan Caruso, Pam Gibberman, Oscar Forseman, Bob Lague, Tom McLaughlin, Jack Rowe, Kathi Zamora.  ABSENT: Steve DiNenno, Charles Fry (technical difficulties), Sue Lemmo (personal commitment), Rich Nicklay (personal commitment), Deb Turici (PSEA Conference)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Should We Teach Creativity? Can We? | LFA: Join The Conversation - Public School Insights

Should We Teach Creativity? Can We? LFA: Join The Conversation - Public School Insights

The National Art Education Association does it again in this article. CLICK on the title above for a thought-provoking read.

ISEA Fine Arts Caucus: The Right Brain Project: An Arts Initiative

NEA Fine Arts Caucus: The Right Brain Project: An Arts Initiative

A great YouTube Arts Advocacy piece that shows how the arts feed all learning. CLICK on the title above and enjoy using this for our students.

Fine Arts Department Budget Cuts, What it Means for Your Child and What You Can Do as a Parent

Statistics Show Arts Students Outperform Peers

I am sure you are aware of the nationwide trend of downsizing, even eliminating, art programs in schools.

What is not entirely known is the impact of removing the fine arts from the education of children.

'Champions of Change, the Impact of the Arts on Learning' is the most comprehensive study on the subject of students involvement in the fine arts and how it relates to academic success.

Art and Music Department Budget Cuts, What it Means for Your Child and What You Can Do as a Parent

Art and Music Department Budget Cuts, What it Means for Your Child and What You Can Do as a Parent

Arts an Easy Target as Many States Cut Budgets

Ben Ahlvers is a full-time arts education coordinator, but his passion is with the fanciful creatures, human figures and oversized hammers he fashions from clay.

The nationally recognized ceramic artist was chosen to receive a fellowship from the Kansas Arts Commission to attend an artist residency in Montana. But after Kansas officials cut the commission's budget midyear by $300,000, he didn't receive the $1,000 check.

"They were still going to have a reception and I joked to somebody that I was going to go and eat $1,000 worth of finger food," said Ahlvers, 35, who said he and his wife had to live off their credit cards and sell more of his artwork to fund the trip.

The Arts Education Effect

Why Schools With Arts Programs Do Better At Narrowing Achievement Gaps
By Sandra S. Ruppert
from Education Week

Most Americans agree with President Barack Obama’s assessment that a “complete and competitive education for the 21st century” means all students will need some form of education or training beyond high school. That’s why college and career readiness for all by 2020 is his administration’s top education goal.

Yet while we recognize that higher levels of educational attainment will open doors to a better life for students, we haven’t been able to keep an estimated 7,000 of them each day from heading quietly for the exits before they’ve had even a chance to earn a high school diploma.

Fewer than seven in 10 students in this country graduate from high school on time, according to the latest data available from the U.S. Department of Education. For students of color and those living in poverty or residing in large urban areas, the odds of on-time graduation are even slimmer. Barely half (51 percent) of African-American students successfully complete high school, while only 55 percent of Hispanics do.

For many of the 1.3 million young people who leave high school each year without a diploma, the path that eventually leads to this educational dead end begins in middle school. The National Assessment of Educational Progress—often referred to as “the nation’s report card”—provides a snapshot of student achievement in various subject areas at crucial transition points, including 8th grade. In June 2009, the results of the 2008 NAEP arts assessment in music and visual arts were released; it was the first NAEP arts assessment conducted since 1997.

Those 2008 results tell a disappointing, but incomplete, story of 8th grade student achievement in the arts. In music, for example, 8th graders had just a 50-50 chance on average of being able to identify the correct response on any of the multiple-choice questions. In visual arts, 8th graders on average were able to identify the correct answer only 42 percent of the time. As troubling as the overall lackluster performance were the significant disparities in achievement based on socioeconomic status, race and ethnicity, gender, and type and location of schools.

Does it really matter if the performance of 8th grade students on the NAEP arts assessments is mediocre at best, or that significant achievement gaps based on socioeconomics and other characteristics continue to persist? It matters only if we as a nation are truly serious about reaching the president’s goal of preparing all K-12 students by 2020 to succeed in school, work, and life.

Arts learning experiences play a vital role in developing students’ capacities for critical thinking, creativity, imagination, and innovation. These capacities are increasingly recognized as core skills and competencies all students need as part of a high-quality and complete 21st-century education. And, as a matter of social justice, we must be concerned when students are denied access to a high-quality education—one that includes learning in and through the arts—simply because of where they live or go to school.

Eighth grade is a crucial turning point for students as they prepare to make the transition from middle school to high school. By 9th grade, researchers can predict with a high degree of accuracy which students are most at risk of dropping out of school, based on three factors: absenteeism, behavioral problems, and course failure.

We know the arts can make a difference in the academic lives of 8th graders. A decade ago, the Arts Education Partnership published groundbreaking research that compared 8th graders who were highly involved in the arts with those who had little or no involvement, and found consistently better outcomes for the highly involved students: better grades, less likelihood of dropping out by grade 10, and more positive attitudes about school. The study also showed that the benefits of high levels of arts participation can make more of a difference for economically disadvantaged students.

Here are five strategies, drawn from the NAEP results, that can help arts education leaders, policymakers, and educators improve performance in the arts and narrow achievement gaps.

Ensure equal access to arts education. Not surprisingly, 8th graders who attend schools where visual arts instruction is offered at least once a week perform better than 8th graders who attend schools where the visual arts are not taught. The same is true for music education. Yet based on projections contained in the NAEP results, more than half a million 8th graders attend the 14 percent of schools where no visual arts classes are offered. More than 300,000 8th grade students attend the 8 percent of schools where no music classes are offered.

Raise levels of participation in arts coursetaking. Even in schools where the arts are offered, actual rates of student participation can be low. For example, one-third of schools estimate that no more than 20 percent of their students received any music instruction in 2008. Fewer than half of 8th graders reported taking a visual arts course in 2008.

Build interest in and demand for the arts in the early grades. Multiple factors can account for mediocre performance and low levels of participation in the arts, but one plausible explanation is that we are seeing the effects of the reduction or elimination of elementary school arts programs, which help build interest in and demand for arts courses in middle school. It may also be a contributing factor in 8th graders’ low self-assessments of their skills: Only 24 percent think they have a talent for visual arts, while just 36 percent think they do for music.

Focus on what works in improving student achievement in the arts. Based on the NAEP results, 8th graders perform at consistently higher levels when they attend schools where any of these conditions exist: (1) a state or district curriculum is in place; (2) classes are taught by a full-time or part-time arts specialist; and (3) classes are located in a designated and adequately equipped space.

Level the playing field to help close the arts education achievement gap. Minority students and those from low-income households have less access to instruction and are less likely to attend schools that have a state or district curriculum. They are less likely to receive instruction from a full-time or part-time arts specialist, or to take field trips or have visiting artists in their schools. Put simply, we provide students who are likely to benefit from arts instruction most with the least of everything.

NAEP’s next arts assessment is scheduled for 2016. The 8th graders who participate in it will be part of the high school graduating class of 2020—the first class in which we can measure whether we have met the ambitious goal of ensuring that all K-12 students are prepared to succeed in college and the workforce.

If we are to meet such a goal, we must take seriously our commitment to close achievement gaps and keep all students on the path to high school graduation and beyond. Arts learning opportunities—both as stand-alone classes and integrated with other subjects—must play an integral role in providing them with the complete education they need to succeed. Let’s hope we see the results of our efforts in 2016.

Sandra S. Ruppert is the director of the Arts Education Partnership, a national coalition of more than 100 arts, education, government, and philanthropic organizations advocating for an increased role for the arts in schools.

A Challenge to the Partnership for 21st Century Skills

A group of prominent scholars, teachers, education reform advocates, and union leaders — including American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten, former Boston University President John Silber, New York University education historian Diane Ravitch, and Democrats for Education Reform co-founders Kevin Chavous and Whitney Tilson —issued a statement today expressing concern about the program put forth by the Partnership for 21st Century Skills (P21) and calling for its revision.  ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED September 14, 2010.

Education is a crucial resource that determines our children’s future and our society’s well-being. As America’s citizenry grows more diverse, we must reach out to include all of our children in the promise of America. As the global economy matures, it requires increasing levels of knowledge and deep understanding of the forces that shape our lives and our future. For these reasons, we must intensify our efforts to improve education. This is the historic challenge facing American education in the twenty-first century.

All students—regardless of race or class—deserve a first-rate liberal arts education, rich in the study of history, science, literature, geography, civics, mathematics, the arts, technology, and foreign languages. At the present time, there is growing pressure on our schools to reduce time spent on these disciplines and subjects to make room for what is now called “21st century skills.”

Skills are important and the Partnership for 21st Century Skills (P21) has identified skills that all children need such as critical thinking, creativity, and problem-solving. But P21’s approach to teaching those skills marginalizes knowledge and therefore will deny students the liberal education they need. Cognitive science teaches us that skills and knowledge are interdependent and that possessing a base of knowledge is necessary to the acquisition not only of more knowledge, but also of skills. Skills can neither be taught nor applied effectively without prior knowledge of a wide array of subjects.

Education policy and practice should be based on sound research and informed by an understanding of what has worked and what has failed in the past. Attempts to teach skills apart from knowledge have failed repeatedly over the last century because they do not work. Unless it is fundamentally revised, the program put forth by P21 also will fail. In the meantime, it is undermining the quality of education in America.

We, undersigned, call on P21 and other advocates of 21st century skills to reshape their effort by putting knowledge and skills together at the core of their work.

•Mark Bauerlein, Department of English, Emory University
•Kevin P. Chavous, co-founder, Democrats for Education Reform
•Antonia Cortese, Secretary-Treasurer, American Federation of Teachers
•Williamson M. Evers, Research Fellow, Hoover Institution
•Chester E. Finn, Jr., President, Thomas B. Fordham Institute
•William Fitzhugh, founder, The Concord Review
•Charles L. Glenn, Professor of Educational Leadership and Development, Boston University
•Barry Garelick, co-founder, U.S. Coalition for World Class Math
•Lorraine Griffith, teacher, West Buncombe Elementary School, Asheville, NC
•Jason Griffiths, Headmaster, The Brooklyn Latin School
•Joy Hakim, author of A History of US and The Story of Science
•E.D. Hirsch, Jr., founder, Core Knowledge Foundation
•Bill Honig, former Superintendent of Public Instruction, State of California
•Kathleen A. Madigan, founder and former president, American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence
•Jack McCarthy, Managing Director, AppleTree Institute for Education Innovation
•Lynne Munson, President, Common Core
•Wesley Null, associate professor, School of Education and the Honors College, Baylor University
•Paul E. Peterson, Henry Lee Shattuck Professor of Government and Director of the Program on Education Policy and Governance, Harvard University
•Diane Ravitch, Research Professor of Education, New York University
•Roberta R. Schaefer, President and CEO, The Worcester Research Bureau
•John Richard Schrock, Professor of Biology and Director of Biology Education, Emporia State University
•Diana Senechal, English teacher, PS108K, New York City
•Michael Sentance, Former Secretary of Education, Commonwealth of Massachusetts
•John Silber, President Emeritus, Boston University
•Jim Stergios, Executive Director, Pioneer Institute
•Sheldon M. Stern, Historian, John F. Kennedy Library (retired)
•Sol Stern, Senior Fellow, Manhattan Institute
•Sandra Stotsky, Department of Education Reform, University of Arkansas
•Whitney Tilson, co-founder, Democrats for Education Reform
•Randi Weingarten, President, American Federation of Teachers
•Daniel Willingham, Professor of Psychology, University of Virginia
•Sam Wineburg, Professor of Education and of History (by courtesy), Stanford University
•Peter Wood, President, National Association of Scholars

Update on 2009 NBI #36--Discipline Specific Arts Certification

A formal request has been made by Tom McLaughlin, NEA FAC Chair to have the memorandum sent to us electronically.  We have also requested research finding, guidance for states on licensure endorsements, and recommendations for next steps.  Once received this information will be posted to our listserv for members to use in their state work. NEA FAC Board Member Pam Gibberman's comments are included at the bottom of this post.

Discipline-Specific Arts Certification NEA will work with state affiliates to recognize and advocator for discipline specific arts certification/licensure (i.e. dance, drama/theatre, music and visual arts).


NEA Teacher Quality (TQ) reviewed the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification (NASDTEC) database for research, resources and information about discipline-specific arts certification/licensure requirements. This information was used to develop a memorandum from NEA President Dennis Van Roekel, NEA Executive Director John Wilson, and NEA Director of TQ Segun Eubanks to state association presidents, executive directors, and instruction and professional development contacts regarding discipline-specific arts certification. The memorandum includes research findings, guidance for states on licensure endorsements, and recommendations for next steps. The memorandum
was disseminated to affiliates in the spring of 2010.


President Van Roekel, fellow delegates, I am speaking as a proud member of UTLA/CTA/NEA and the NEA Fine Arts Caucus. I am here asking for your help and support. We are not seeking a federal mandate. This is a matter of equity. Each art form has it’s own body of knowledge and skills that must be acquired by its practitioners and which must be mastered by teachers in order to instruct students. Why should music be recognized as a discrete subject, but not dance? Are visual arts more important than theatre arts?
In Los Angeles Unified School District last year there were 59 teachers hired to teach dance. 59 hired to teach theatre, and 59 hired to teach visual arts in elementary schools because of their solid background, training and experience in their respective disciplines. Veteran dance teachers were force to take PE courses several years ago in order to be deemed “highly qualified” according to the “so called’ No Child Left Behind Act.

The newest dance teachers were Reduced-In-Force had not yet done so. The theatre teachers who were RIF’d did not have the credentials to teach English but were forced to do so! Why are these art forms not worthy of recognition in and of themselves?

Please NEA help make it possible for the students of every state to receive instruction in each art discipline by teachers who are certified/licensed in dance, drama/theatre, music or the visual arts.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

21st Century Arts Skills Map released at Capitol Hill hearing

The Partnership for 21st Century Skills released the Skills Map for the Arts at a Capitol Hill briefing on July 15. The map, outlining thirteen skills, outcomes, and lesson examples at grades four, eight, and twelve in the four arts areas (theatre, music, dance, and visual arts), was created by the leading arts education professional organizations. The Educational Theatre Association collaborated with the American Alliance for Theatre & Education to create the map’s twelve theatre examples. Executive Director Michael Peitz and EdTA Director of Educational Policy James Palmarini attended the briefing. EdTA member and map writer Dale Schmid spoke on behalf of theatre’s role in the process and 2010 EdTA Arts Advocacy Day Essay Competition winner Elliah Heifetz was one of four students to speak on how arts education had impacted their lives.

The complete map is available at

Other participating organizations were the National Art Education Association, MENC: The National Association for Music Education, the National Dance Association, and the National Dance Education Organization.

EdTA Executive Director Michael Peitz, 2010 Arts Advocacy Day Essay winner Elliah Heifetz, and Upper Dublin High School theatre director Deborah Thompson at the 21st Century Partnership Arts Map briefing in Washington, D.C.

The Partnership for 21st Century Skills is a national organization that advocates for twenty-first century readiness for every student. P21 and its member organizations stress the need for U. S. education to include “four Cs” (critical thinking and problem solving, communication, collaboration, and creativity) as part of teacher practice in order for the United States to continue to compete in a global economy.

Kathy Hurley, senior vice president of strategic partnerships for the education services and technology company Pearson and P21 executive board and strategic council chair, said, “I commend America’s leading arts education professional associations for joining forces to create a tool that illustrates how the four Cs can be fused with arts education. This new document, P21’s fifth core content map, provides practical examples that educators can model as they work to ensure 21st century readiness for every student.”

In the briefing, a map writer from each discipline addressed how one of the four Cs was illustrated in a map example. Schmid addressed the skill of creativity and its student outcomes in the following theatre example:

“Students write short original plays, cast them with classmates, workshop the scripts over a designated period, and present them in a staged reading. Through discussions with the audience, cast members, and teachers, they make decisions about what worked well in their plays and what did not, revise the scripts, and submit them to a student playwriting competition.”

In his remarks, Schmid noted a Newsweek article that said a recent IBM poll of 1,500 CEOs identified creativity as the number one “leadership competency” of the future, and that recent data on a highly regarded test measuring creativity suggests that American creativity skills are declining, particularly among children in kindergarten through sixth grade.

Heifetz, a rising senior at Upper Dublin High School in Fort Washington, Pennsylvania, was accompanied by his theatre director, Deborah Thompson. Speaking of how his theatre experience has shaped his life, Heifetz said, “All my life, creativity has pushed me forward simply because of the way it makes my mind work. As I change skins from child to teenager and eventually to adult, I advance chiefly because the art that I am involved in now has taught me how.”

Peitz said the The 21st Century Skills Map for the Arts was a major step forward in confirming the arts as a core subject. “In its examples and outcomes, the arts map clearly illustrates how sound teaching practice in theatre, dance, visual arts, and music can nurture and promote the fundamental skills our students need to succeed in today’s world.

“We all know that the 4Cs of creativity, collaboration, communication, and critical thinking, along with all the other skills cited in the framework, happen every day in our classrooms and on our stages,” said Peitz. “I hope business leaders, school administrators, legislators, and educators themselves will use the arts skills map to help support their efforts to promote curricular arts programs in our schools.” (Posted 7/19/2010)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Using Kites to Teach Science

I continue to be amazed at the high quality articles in our local in-flight magazine. Hawaiian Airlines should receive a medal every year for their astounding Hana Hou magazine, which fortunately for everyone "off island" is also featured online.

Not only do they cover unique aspects of these incredibly beautiful and sacred islands, they do so from a perspective that celebrates the diversity of life. Last month, a small piece in the Native Intelligence section caught my eye: It was about kites! How many of us have memories of flying a kite?

The article's illustration shows an ancient kite design held aloft by a beautiful Hawaiian woman. I immediately thought about the soft but strong trade winds that sweep my own side of Oahu in Makaha Valley. I envisioned the author describing the aerodynamics of flight by these earliest shapes modeled on petroglyphs found near our volcanic beaches and in our lush green valleys.

Instead, this article totally surprised me. Its first sentence quietly prompts, "What do kites have to do with science?" Well, now I was hooked since STEM education has become a passion in my life.
The article was not about flight, instead its extraordinary richness lay in exploring the science of fermentation of the kite's kappa (bark cloth) and the legends that inspired such kites for centuries in the Polynesia realm.

The Bishop Museum's science educator, Amber Inwood, and native Hawaiian artist, Dalani Tanahy, partnered in educating Waianae Coast fourth graders about Polynesian kites, their sacred place in myth and tradition, the role of our islands' climates, and the process of fermentation in general. The result? Sixty-four students teamed to create kapa kites by hand using multicolored plant dyes, fibers, gum, resin, and pounded bark. And, yes, they flew their kites over the island -- a testimony that adventure can often come from ancient knowledge.

For those of you intrigued as I am by this short and enticing article, you can learn more about making kapa cloth with your own students and the history and craft behind Hawaiian kapa cloth at this website. Also, check out the students kapa kites exhibit at the museum.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Friday, July 9, 2010

NEA Fine Arts Caucus Photo

Here's one of our group photos.  There are more are on the way.  Way to go at the RA!  We really were successful in the passage of NBIs #52, #71 & #86.


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

NBI 86--Adopted at the 2010 NEA RA

SPEECHES FROM Tom McLaughlin & John Kovalchik are included in this post.  Speeches from other speakers are pending arrival of those written scripts.

Italicized portions of this script were cut as we were alloted only 3 minutes.

Were not spoken as time ran out.

Good afternoon President Van Roekel my name is Tom McLaughlin, newly elected chair of the NEA Fine Arts Caucus and a delegate from Iowa speaking for the delegation.  I move NBI 86A as modified.   You have the new language and according to NEA management the cost has been drastically changed from $43,500.00 to $2,490.00.

At last year’s RA, the Fine Arts caucus passed a new business item that called for an e-survey to be done by NEA Research studying “the changes in staffing, work conditions, and budgetary considerations for fine arts programs in the US over the last three years.

Our NBI also asked that this information be published so that arts educators and advocates can study what we already anecdotally know about arts education in the US—in the current economic climate, arts programs are being decimated, teaching positions are disproportionally disappearing and student opportunities are being severely limited or totally eliminated.

Last year's e-survey results came to the Fine Arts Caucus at this RA just a few days ago.  The results, however, were not published for our members and colleagues to use in designing strategies and interventions to save arts programs in our schools. And the survey was done before the drastic educational job cuts from this spring.

Our students make it clear that they want and value arts education more than many of our school districts do. In a recent Scholastic poll asking students whether schools should be required to offer the arts in schools: 93% of the elementary respondants--nearly 20,000 of them said YES. But anecdotally we have heard about an English colleague who got a new classroom (an empty band room) and where are the instruments? Gathering dust in locked closets not in the hands of our children. We have heard about the total elimination of all art and music programs in a slash a burn manner. Now is the time for advocacy. The Goals 2000: Educate America Act and ESEA call the arts an essential part of the core curriculum.

Just a few weeks ago the front page of the Des Moines Register let us know that nearly 1/3 of the teaching jobs that were being cut were art and music teachers. Think about the impact of that to teachers in K-5 situations who many times rely on specials for spotty bits of planning time. Think about the members that we are losing, the dues dollars that are disappearing for our state and our nationa organization. But, most importantly, think about what we are stealing from our students. And when we steal from this from them, what do we lose?

Here’s some of what we lose:
Kids who have an arts education for more than three hours a week are four times more likely to win an award for academic achievement. They are three times more likely to be elected to class office. They are four times more likely to participate in a math or science fair. The are three times more likely to win an award for attendance and four times more likely to win an award for writing. Involvement in the arts increases academic success in all socio-economic groups.

The arts also stimulates and develops the imagination and critical thinking, and refines cognitive and creative skills.  Arts education has a tremendous impact on the developmental growth of every child and has proven to help level the "learning field" across socio-economic boundaries.

Strengthens problem-solving and critical-thinking skills, adding to overall academic achievement and school success.
Studying the arts develops a sense of craftsmanship, quality task performance, and goal-setting—skills needed to succeed in the classroom and beyond.

Arts education programs teach children life skills such as developing an informed perception; articulating a vision; learning to solve problems and make decisions; building self-confidence and self-discipline; developing the ability to imagine what might be; and accepting responsibility to complete tasks from start to finish.

They also nurtures important values, including team-building skills; respecting alternative viewpoints.

Arts education is also vital to the success of our nation's economy.  The US Department of labor says that by 2018 there will 2 million jobs that require a background in the arts. It’s our economy. Every year the non profit arts community generates 166.2 billion dollars.

Ninety four percent of adults surveyed believe in the value of arts education but only less than 30% of our elementary students have more than 3 or 4 times a week. 40% of elementary schools don’t even have an art teacher.

This year the Fine Arts Caucus is asking for our colleagues to join us again in creating an e-Fine Arts Task Force that is charged to design--with the NEA staff liaison—an arts advocacy program to be communicated to our members in the NEA Today and other appropriate e-publications. External advocacy tools that can be shared with state and local leaders are a necessary result of this task force. The Fine Arts Caucus, its officers and steering committee are interested in being part of this task force and this discussion. We need our colleagues to help us advocate for the arts.

John Adams once said, “I must study politics and war, that my children may study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history, commerce and agriculture in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, (dance and drama).”

Please join us in allowing members of the Fine Arts Caucus and others in creating an e-Fine Arts Task Force to save arts programs in our nations schools for our nations children.


I am John Kovalchik from Pennsylvania, speaking in favor of New Business Item #86.

The fine arts caucus believes this item to be a relatively inexpensive way to draw attention to the parts of a well-rounded education that were left behind after the passage of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act formerly known as “No Child Left Behind”. I think the fine arts might have been left behind because there are no standardized tests for them. This NBI will also complete what was started by last year’s NBI #52 that requested that a survey be taken to assess the condition of arts education. A survey was taken, but not yet published.

The fine arts caucus is turning hope into action with the help of NEA by establishing a permanent liaison between the NEA executive board and the fine arts caucus. NBI #86 will help our caucus to work more efficiently. This item also will help us to fight for a segment of our association that is suffering an inordinate number of cuts in program and staff.

We ask your help and support for reminding legislators and the public that a student’s education is more than just reading, science and math, as at least one legislator in Pennsylvania would have you believe. State Senator Jeff Picola’s proposed changes to Pennsylvania’s Educational Empowerment Act would force any school to limit their curricula to those three subjects, reading, science and math.

In April Sec. of Education Arne Duncan spoke at an Arts Education National forum and stated, “Now, as we move forward with reauthorizing the ESEA Act, is the time to rethink and strengthen arts education”. Please help us put these words into action. Please support new business item 86 and prove that a child is more than a test score.

Thank you.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

NEA Fine Arts e-Survey Results from the 2009 RA

NBI 52:NEA, through UniServ and local presidents and state and national professional fine arts education associations, will contact and conduct an e-survey of its fine arts teachers. The purpose of this e-survey will be to identify changes in staffing, work conditions, and budgetary considerations for fine arts programs in districts over the past three years. NEA will report the results of the e-survey through standard means available to the NEA.

In April 2010 an e-survey using Survey Monkey was sent to 6,000 teachers identified as fine arts teachers. The expected response rate was 10%. The survey was open for 10 days and 3 reminders were sent. The final number of eligible completes was 382. Of the eligible completed surveys 206 identified themselves as music teachers and 168 identified themselves as arts teachers, while 8 indicated some other form of fine arts. The demographics of the respondents were 80% female and 20% male; 56% were over the age of 45; 87% were Caucasian; median number years of teaching was 19.6; 54% taught in elementary schools, 27% taught in middle or junior high schools; and 19% in high schools; 44% of the respondents hold Bachelor’s Degrees, 53% hold a Master’s Degree or higher, and 3% have some other form of education.
Respondents noted that there has been a decrease in staffing and funding for fine arts education over the past three years. 36% reported a drop in staffing in their district over the past three years, while 72% reported that the level of staffing has remained the same. While the amount of staffing has remained fairly constant, the amount of funding for the fine arts programs in schools has dropped. The area that has seen the most noticeable decrease has been in after school programs. Almost all (93%) of fine arts teachers reported that they either needed to start or continue fundraising programs in order to help offset the costs of additional programs.
Despite the decrease in staffing and funding, the respondents are, overall, satisfied with their working conditions. 81% of respondents said that they will remain a teacher until they are either eligible for retirement or are forced to retire. A majority (63%) of teachers say that if they could do it over again, they would still become a teacher. Almost all teachers (95%) believe that they are making a difference in their students’ lives.
While it seems there is high morale for the teaching aspect, when it comes to the administration, there is some animosity. 72% of respondents feel that there is no feeling of mutual respects between teachers and administrators in their school; 68% feel that administrators don’t support teachers when they are having problems with their teaching. Teachers would like to see more formal recognition or receive the recognition that they deserve with 87% responding that there is little to no formal recognition for a job well done or that they receive the recognition that they deserve.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

RA Microphone Strategy

NBI 52
Debbie Turici—Pennsylvania--14
John Kovalchick—Pennsylvania--18
NBI 86

Tom McLaughlin—Iowa--36
Pam Gibberman—California--2
Debbie Turici—Pennsylvaniej--14
Cheryl Tomzuk—Texas--35
Jessica Ramirez—Texas--35

Paulette Parente-Hahn--23
Oscar Foresman--32
LeAnn Hinkle—Connecticut--16
Kathy Zamora—Nevada--37
Cheryl Tomzuk—Texas--35
Joan Permision 10
Sue Lemmo 18
Charlie Fry 1
Steven Dinenno 33
Daniel Caruso 15

NEA Fine Arts Caucus New Business Item 86

The NEA will publish, as soon as is reasonably possible, the results of the 2009-2010 e-survey done by NEA Research studying “the changes in staffing, work conditions, and budgetary considerations for fine arts programs in the United States over the last three years.”
Moreover, NEA will assign a staff liaison to work with a Fine Arts Task Force appointed by President Van Roekel whose charge shall be to design and implement an arts advocacy campaign within the Association and communicated to our members in the NEA Today and other appropriate e-publications. The task force will also be charged to design/organize and communicate possible external arts advocacy tools that can be shared with state and local affiliates.


New Business Item 52 from the 2009 RA passed and directed that paragraph one be completed and it was not. Arts programs are hemorrhaging across the country. All students deserve the Arts.

Fine Arts Teachers E-Survey

NEA, through UniServ and local presidents and state and

national professional fine arts education associations, will

contact and conduct an e-survey of its fine arts teachers. The

purpose of this e-survey will be to identify changes in staffing,

work conditions, and budgetary considerations for fine arts

programs in districts over the past three years. NEA will report

the results of the e-survey through standard means available to

the NEA. (2009-52)


NEA Research conducted a survey sent to fine arts

education teachers via email. The survey information is

being analyzed and the resulting report will be available

through InsideNEA by June 2010.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Fine Arts Caucus New Business Item 52

NEA-FAC New Business Item
Move that President Van Roekel write a letter to President Obama, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, every state governor and state Secretary of Education, about the necessity of a quality, comprehensive, integrated, K-12 arts education program, taught by certified arts specialists. The Fine Arts, as defined by ESEA, include art, music, theatre, and dance.
Moved by the NEA Fine Arts Caucus,
Debbie Turici, Pennsylvania

ESEA defines the arts as one of the ten core academic subjects; yet it has decimated arts education programs nationwide. Arts educators are facing disproportionate fuloughs, reduction and elimination of programs. Every student deserves arts education.

Friday, July 2, 2010

NEA Fine Arts Caucus Meeting Minutes – Thursday, July 2, 2010

Executive Board and Steering Committee – New Orleans Hotel

*Meeting called to order at 12:00 pm by Chair Kathi Zamora

*In attendance: Bob Lague (MA), John Kovalchik (PA); Sue Lemmo (PA), Rich NickLay (IA), Laura McIntyre Vander Haeghen (IN), Pamela Gibberman (CA), Oscar Forsman (IL), Tom McLaughlin (IA), Kathi Zamora (NV), Debbie Turici (PA)

*Welcome and Introductions, Sign-In Sheets

*Approval of minutes from July 6, 2009

*Handouts: Rules of Procedure; Arts advocacy websites

*New Business Items – discussion of last year’s NBI’s, NEA’s Report on NBI’s and NBI’s for this RA; great concern of loss of arts jobs, members, and dues

*All other meetings – Convention Center Cafeteria

*Non-Profit Booth – sign up sheet tomorrow for Sunday, Monday and Tuesday

*Ribbons need redesigned for next year; also, ordering pencils, other items

*Website – Iowa website became new NEA-FAC website – thanks to Tom McLaughlin

*Social Networking – we will use ning to communicate with entire membership throughout the year, post documents, post design entries, post scholarship info; discussion of Facebook

*Motion: $10 FAC membership includes FAC pin and card; motion by P. Gibberman, seconded by T. McLaughlin

*Discussion of NEA-FAC logo and redesigning it; possibly sponsoring a contest for FAC members

*Long discussion of goals, priorities, 3-5 year plan; making the FAC functional, viable, credible

Respectfully submitted by Debbie Turici

NEA Fine Arts Caucus Meeting Minutes – Thursday, July 1, 2010

*Meeting called to order at 4:00 pm by Debbie Turici, Acting Chair
*In attendance: Debbie Turici (PA), John R. Kovalchik (PA), Robert A. Lague (MA), Charlie Fry (PA)
Pamela Gibberman (CA), Oscar Forsman (IL), Tom McLaughlin (IA)

*Reviewed the NEA-FAC Rules of Procedure

*Update of leadership – two of four officers were not elected to attend the NEA (Cheryl Looney-Whitney, Chair and Albert Stellmach, Vice-Chair); D. Turici to serve as Temporary Chair for today then as Vice-Chair; Kathi Zamora, Secretary, will serve as Chair; Bob Lague – Treasurer; need to appoint Secretary;
*FAC Non-Profit Booth and Caucus Meeting notices– Bob Lague ordered room for meetings and table for booth; Tom McLaughlin placed signs about FAC meetings in convention hall

*Other items needed for booth – banner (P. Gibberman); tshirts, membership forms (K. Zamora); pins (B. Logue); new shirts (J. Rowe); NO ribbons; FAC not listed in handbook (too late); sign-up sheet for volunteers for booth needed – setup: July 3, 11-5; July 4-6, 9am-5am

*Newsletter – June 2010 – Albert Stellmach sent out newsletter via email and mail

*Website – Oscar Forsman reported on website

*Discussion – updating Constitution and By-Laws, setting policies, establishing timeline, phone conferencing, communication, what states have a Fine Arts Caucus; ESEA’s “Blueprint for Reform” booklet from the Dept. of Education; art competition (PA Fabric of Unionism examples); getting special speaker for meeting (Diane Ravitch, Peter Yarrow – examples); establishing an NEA Liaison (L. Ekelson, P. Moss) (J. Kovalchik); national professional organizations – NAEA, MENC, EDTA; sending a letter to each state president, in August, regarding FAC –(T. McLaughlin and B. Lague)

*Handouts with discussion: AFT Magazine arts article;

*FAC Scholarship – only one applicant and recipient, Brian Rosenthal, $500

Adjourned at 5:30 pm

Respectfully submitted by Debbie Turici


I. Welcome, introductions (state/state caucus/follow up in your state delegation), rule of operation & sign in.

II. Adoption of the agenda.

III. Adoption of the minutes from July 6, 2009.

IV. Treasurer’s Report.

V. Caucus/goals and purpose
The Fine Arts Caucus is established:
1. To influence the creation and maintenance of policy responsive to the needs of fine arts educators within the NEA.
2. To actively work toward the implementation of policy through participation and influence on the NEA committees and governance bodies.
3. To provide a mechanism to support candidates for NEA office who will most benefit the cause of furthering Fine Arts Education within the NEA.
4. To provide a mechanism by which state and local association fine arts educators may introduce recommendations, secure support, and initiate action on concerns of fine arts members at the state and local level.
5. To increase awareness among all educators of the need of fine arts specialists in the regular school program.
6. To encourage the establishment of Fine Arts Caucuses at the state and local levels of NEA affiliates.

VI. Review of 2009 RA NBIs
      A. Discipline-specific arts certification p. 13 of buff REPORTS document.
      B. Fine Arts Teacher E-Survey (were any of you surveyed?) p. 15 of buff REPORTS document. How do we follow up on this information?
VII. This year’s likely NBI’s or items of informal action.
  • NEA official liaison to the caucus;
  • Protecting Arts jobs nationwide;
  • Survey: the next step.
VIII. Membership in your state. Booth set-up/Booth sign up. We NEED your help to make this work
Membership--$10.00 with pin and membership card. Shirts $20.00.
Pins for non-members $5.00. Non-profit booth open Sunday, Monday & Tuesday 9:00-5:00 pm.

IX. Electronic communications—we need your texts & emails (neatly printed)

X. Setting a long range plan.

XI. Agenda items for tomorrow’s meeting.

XII. Adjournment.