Saturday, January 15, 2011

NEA FAC Midwest Regional Minutes 1/15/2011

IN ATTENDANCE: Tom McLaughlin (IA), NEA FAC Chair; George Affeldt (WI); Linda Atwood (IN); Barbara Lex (IA); Michael D. Deatz (IA); Karen Hartlep (IA);  Megan Russo (IA); Nancy Notton-Stumpff (IA); Maggie Parks (IA); Scott Reiker (IA); Sue Williams (IA).

The meeting began informally with caucus attendees visiting over breakfast.  The meeting was called to order at 7:12 am.
Those in attendance were asked to introduce themselves, tell what they teach and share stories that outlined how the economy has affected arts education in their school district and
community.  The general consensus of the group is that there have been many cuts in arts programs, that arts program budgets are being slashed and that we must unify to stop these dangerous trends.

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.
Sue Williams (IA) discussed the strength of the Bettendorf community’s support of the arts both in public venues and in the schools of her district. 
Scott Reiker (IA) discussed the disproportionate cut of arts and counseling positions in Des Moines.  He discussed how ALL arts positions have been affected negatively in his school district and shared the frustration with so much road time for arts educators.

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.
Linda Atwood (IN) discussed how her community taxed itself 2% to protect the arts but shared her concern that the programs were still losing ground.  She also discussed the Indiana Arts Framework.
Maggie Parks (IA) discussed how an over-emphasis on math and reading has cut into time for arts education, how art was expanded in her district and that all music was cut to prepare students for stronger reading and math scores.
Website: the national NEA Fine Arts Caucus has launched and maintained its website to communicate with members this year.   The site saw lots of traffic at its launch in July.  Traffic has been reasonably good for the website’s maiden year.  We hope that we can get our members to contribute.

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.
Scholarships: The caucus awarded two  $500.00 scholarships this year.  One scholarship went the student chair of the Pennsylvania Education Association, Meghan Bergman.  Meghan is an art education student and Carlow University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.   The other recipient was Valerie Cunningham a theatre student at Stephan Austin University in Dallas, Texas.  Meghan is a caucus member and Valerie is the daughter of a caucus member.
NEA Fine Arts Task Force:
In response to the NEA RA NBI #86, the NEA has formed a Fine Arts Task Force.
·         Princess Moss (Co-Chair)- NEA Exec. Committee, elementary school music teacher
·         Greg Johnson  (Co-Chair)- NEA Exec. Committee, high school choir director
·         Tom McLaughlin- a high school drama teacher
·         Jennifer Roberts- a high school art teacher
·         Christopher Thomas, NEA Staff Liaison
·         Derrick Johnson, NEA Staff Liaison

1.       E-Survey conducted by NEA-Research NBI 2010-52
a.        Clarification on 2-yrs of loss of fine-arts members.  Is this membership loss or position loss?
b.      Understanding how the e-survey was disseminated, who the respondents were, how they were chosen to participate
                                                               i.      According to Tom not a single member of his caucus received the e-survey
                                                             ii.      None of the other task force members present at the meeting received the survey.
                                                            iii.      Tom raised concerns about the low response rate of 8 of 382 (about 2%)eligible completed surveys were of other fine arts teachers (fine arts other than art and music i.e. drama and dance)
c.       Broadening the scope of the survey
                                                               i.      Defining what is a fine art (Princess)
                                                             ii.      Moving the survey beyond NEA membership
                                                            iii.      Identifying external research as it relates to arts educators as a whole

2.       Data Review and Discussion
a.       NCLB Study
b.      Access to Arts Education
                                                               i.      Decreased funding in the arts
                                                             ii.      Decreased instruction time
c.       Transformative Power of Arts in Closing the Achievement Gap
                                                               i.      The ability of the arts to influence positive academic achievement in students who have historically been marginalized due to their socioeconomic conditions
                                                             ii.      Offered a great link with the work the association already conducts with Priority Schools

3.       Emergency Jobs Bill Discussion
a.       Concerns expressed about School districts stock-piling funds received from the Jobs Bill
b.      The arts have been disproportionately affected due to this stockpiling
c.       Arts programs aren’t necessarily being eliminated they are, however, being de-funded almost to the brink of elimination.

4.       Recommendation Ideas
a.       Greg:  Utilize the RA as a kickoff to a year-long emphasis on the arts (July 2011 – July 2012) throughout the Association, beginning with a big Arts-focused event.
                                                               i.      Greg in preliminary talks with John Wilson about possible events and performances (perhaps even some special guests)
b.      Establish an Arts Education Day during American Education Week
c.       Devote portions of NEA Today to the arts during Art Education Month
d.      Work with regional planning committees to highlight student performances during RLCS
e.      Develop workshops on Arts Education to be conducted at RLCs

5.       Recommendation Implementation Timeline
a.       July 2011 – July 2012 (RA 2011 – RA 2012)  Year long association-wide arts education emphasis
b.      Identify calendar touchpoints throughout this 1 year period (ideally every two months, perhaps even more frequently)

6.       Advocacy Campaign
a.       Can be designed as a tool to grow membership or a tool to raise the profile of the organization

b.      Campaign should involve students to assist in campaign messaging (i.e. a Poster-Contest)

7.       Next Steps
a.       Determine recommendations to move forward.
b.      Determine what materials/information to provide to state and local leaders for arts advocacy at the RA to coincide with our recommended kickoff.
c.       Next Meeting: Wednesday, February 10, 2011

The meeting was adjourned at 6:00 p.m. ET.

Membership Development

Tom encouraged the attendees from Wisconsin & Indiana to return to their states and have a conversation with their state presidents about beginning a caucus in their state.  He also encouraged all those who were not members to join the caucus. 

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.

New Business

A new business item is being developed to promote the importance of unions within our nation’s schools.    Deb Turici of the Pennsylvania Education Association has headed the Fabric of Unionism Project within the PSEA.  We are proposing to take this national as membership in unions are at historic lows.  We have an obligation to help educate our nation’s youth about the powerful historic contributions that unions have given our nation.

Candidate Visit

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.
Resolution B-29 

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  for  and creative students  supports federal and state funding for the education of these students..

All of these students will benefit from  experiencing and exploring their artistic abilities.  The Association also believes that there must be well-developed criteria and guidelines for identifying and teaching these students.  Such identificaiton must be culturally sensitive and must not discriminate on any basis other than the exceptionality being identified.

The Association believes that collaboration between classroom teachers, special education specialists, and arts educators will benefits gifted, talented and special needs students.   Such collaboration will supports these students in their efforts to understand and express themselves through the creative arts.

The Association further believes that professional development programs in gifted, talented and special needs education in gifted and talented education must be provided for all appropriate education employees. This professional development should be culturally responsive.

Epilogue:  After discussion with several members who sit on Resolutions, we discovered that changing B-29 is really “hi-jacking” the resolution on Gifted, Talented and Creative Education.  This resolution is specific to gifted education and—prior to our revision—did not mention the arts.  It is our recommendation that we submit this to NEA Resolutions and have them find a place for it in B-45 or another place.

Legislative Initiatives

Karen Hartlep (IA) and Nancy Notton-Stumpff (IA) represented the caucus at the Legislative Hearing.  Their specific charge is to ensure that our legislative agenda specifically addresses “Arts as Core” in the
Reauthorization of ESEA.  Tom McLaughlin visited with the NEA liaison to the hearing about the issue as well at the end of the hearing.

Candidate Endorsements

A list of the questions and questionnaire was distributed during the meeting.    The NEA FAC will be interviewing candidates for endorsements this year.  Members were encouraged to submit more questions or share questions of their own.  Tom McLaughlin pointed members to the organization Americans for the Arts and suggested that they  join.

NEA FAC Logo & Design Contest

Rules for the contest were shared with the members of the caucus.  Members were encouraged to  submit and entry or share the information with another  talented artist.
The NEA FAC will be active at the 2011 RA in Chicago, Illinios.  The caucus will be active in  using the work of the NEA Fine Arts Task Force to “kick-off” a year long Arts Awareness and Advocacy Campaign.  There will be many exciting components.  Many of these ideas are included in the minutes under NEA Fine Arts Task Force.
Nancy Notton –Stumpff moved for adjournment; Karen Hartlep seconded the motion.
The meeting was adjourned at 8:08 AM.
Submitted respectfully,
George Affeldt (WI)
Tom McLaughlin

No comments:

Post a Comment