The meeting began informally with caucus attendees visiting over breakfast. The meeting was called to order at 7:12 am.
The following stories were shared by those in attendance:
Barbara Lex (IA) of Moticello shared her story that her district employs two art teachers for 2200 students and it has made collaboration difficult/next to impossible. She continued to discuss how the lack of communication indirectly pits “teacher against teacher.” More than that, her district has “broadened the scope” of what can be used for an arts credits. World languages and other electives are no classified as an arts credit. As a result, the integrity of a true arts curriculum has been watered-down.
Karen Hartlep (IA) discussed the practice of dumping students who don’t want to be in those classes in art classes. Karen continued to share how her budget has been cut year after year. This year her district has 750 elementary students who are served on a $300.00 budget. 50 cents per student is an unreasonable budget but she and her colleagues have been innovative in securing resources to give students some positive experiences. Her budget has been cut in half. She is working with the community college to aid students and get additional training. On a brighter note, her students have advocated and secured more studio time as she has expanded their school’s art club. Students have a place to hang out, students who are starving for arts experience are being given the chance to create, a community and time to hang out with other artists.
Michael Deatz (IA)discussed the elimination of the fall play in his school district. This is supposedly for just one year. He also discussed how scheduling was contributing to the erosion of arts programs in his school. Michael’s parental support is strong and benefits the programs, the students and him as a professional.
Nancy Notton-Stumpff, a guidance counselor and one-time drama teacher, discussed how school consolidation has impacted the arts in her school district. The merger has squeezed out all of the arts.
Constitution & Bylaws: The NEA FAC Executive Board has been working with Constitution & Bylaws Chairs Rich Nicklay (IA) and Charlie Fry (PA) at getting a revised constitution ready for adoption at this year’s RA in Chicago. The body of the document has been worked through. Bylaws and operating procedures will be reviewed this winter and during the spring.
Internal & External Promotion & Advocacy
Those present were encouraged to assist the caucus with its internal and external communications. Submissions to the newsletter & website were encouraged.
Executive Board member Len Palillo visited the caucus meeting and shared his support of the arts with members of the caucus. He also shared his desire to work with our group to ensure strong arts education in all schools.
Members of the MWRC discussed the proposed changes to Resolution B-29. The group did propose some changes from the language proposed by the NEA FAC Executive Board. The changes made by the regional conference team are highlighted in yellow.
Sue Williams moved the changes below. Scott Reiker seconded the motion. The motion carried.
Sue Williams (IA) will move the item on behalf of the conference at the NEA Resolutions Hearing. Tom McLaughlin was pulled out of the NEA Commission on Teachers and Teaching to speak to the resolution.
The National Education Association believes that there must be additional educational arts programs and services for gifted, talented,and special needs students; and the NEA
The meeting was adjourned at 8:08 AM.