Saturday, May 28, 2011

Kansas Arts Agency Eliminated

May 28, 2011—In response to Kansas Governor Sam Brownback’s decision to veto funding for the Kansas Arts Commission, Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts, issued the following statement:

Americans for the Arts is disappointed with Governor Sam Brownback’s decision to eliminate the Kansas Arts Commission (KAC) by vetoing the legislative branch’s budget for the agency. His action not only robs the citizens of his state of access to quality arts programming, but is also a direct affront to his campaign platform to create jobs and rebuild the state’s economy.  Kansas now holds the dubious distinction of being the only state without a functioning state agency in charge of promoting the arts and culture.

Further, the KAC received a matching grant of $778,200 from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) in 2011 to support Kansas jobs, artists and cultural groups. That funding is now lost for 2012 with the elimination of the KAC, the only agency in Kansas that is eligible for the NEA’s matching grants. Kansas also loses the $437,767 the KAC brought in from its regional partner, the Mid-America Arts Alliance. This $1.2 million funding shortfall far exceeds the $689,000 KAC appropriation recommended by the Kansas legislature during budget negotiations.
We at Americans for the Arts understand that times are tough, and governors across the country are facing hard budget decisions. We further recognize that the arts will have to do their part to ensure state governments are able to make ends meet. So while some cuts to arts funding are expected, they should be proportional to those of other government services.  We all have to do our part. The arts alone should not be sacrificed as they have been in Kansas as the total elimination of the KAC does not substantially solve Kansas’s budget deficit but rather removes $1.2 million in federal money from Kansas’ economy—money that will now go to other states.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Teacher leaders recommend overhaul of evaluation and accountability

NEA focused squarely on student success and ‘true profession’ with highest standards

WASHINGTON - May 11, 2011 - Signaling a commitment to a new, more prestigious profession of teaching, the National Education Association (NEA) is calling on its members to set a course to overhaul teacher evaluation and accountability and advance student learning.
Based on recommendations of a workgroup of NEA leaders convened this spring by NEA President Dennis Van Roekel, the NEA Board of Directors has approved for final action a policy statement that revamps teacher evaluation and accountability. The statement reflects the first broad endorsement by NEA of the need for evaluation and accountability reform.

NAMM Honors NEA’s John Wilson with Support Music Award

WASHINGTON, May 10, 2011— The National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) honored John Wilson, executive director of the National Education Association (NEA) with its prestigious Support Music Award at a dinner on Monday night. NAMM recognized Wilson for his long-held belief in a complete education for all children, one that includes music and the arts as core academic subjects.

“John Wilson is an education leader who truly understands that kids simply need music and the arts to keep them engaged at school,” said Joe Lamond, president and CEO, NAMM. “We recognize John as a defender of creativity, innovation and passion in America’s schools for more than a decade at the NEA.”

The NAMM dinner was a part of the association’s weeklong music education advocacy efforts in Washington including special events, meetings with key legislators and educational seminars.

NAMM is the not-for-profit association that unifies, leads and strengthens the $17 billion international musical instruments and products industry. NAMM’s activities and programs are designed to promote music making to people of all ages. NAMM is comprised of approximately 9,000 Member companies. For more information about NAMM or the proven benefits of making music, interested parties can visit or call 800-767-NAMM (6266).

The National Education Association is the nation’s largest professional employee organization, representing 3.2 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers. Follow NEA on twitter: @NEAMedia. For more information, please visit

Saturday, May 7, 2011

White House Panel Calls for 'Reinvesting' in Arts Education


A presidential advisory panel today issued a report1 that makes the case for expanding access to arts education in schools, arguing that the arts hold great potential to bolster student engagement and academic achievement. At the same time, the report laments that, if anything, the current trend is toward the erosion of the arts on campus.

The report gives special attention to the practice of arts integration, where subjects such as math, science, and language arts are integrated with teaching arts disciplines. (I wrote about how dance2 was used for that purpose last fall, including an example in Maryland where dance and science were brought together in elementary classrooms.)

Friday, May 6, 2011

NEA leaders ask members to consider Obama re-election

Mid-term elections provided “teachable moment,” says NEA President

WASHINGTON - May 06, 2011 - On Thursday, May 5, 2011, the National Education Association’s (NEA) Political Action Committee approved a recommendation to NEA’s highest governing body—the Representative Assembly—to support the re-election of President Barack Obama.
“This is the time to make decisions about the direction of our country, and we have real choices to make.  As activists, engaged educators, we should get involved now,” said NEA President Dennis Van Roekel.  “Will we allow Congress to gut Medicare, slash education and cut Social Security, and continue to make it just fine for hedge fund managers and corporations to sidestep paying taxes?  Or will we act and assert the real American values of hard work and responsibility, a commitment to a vibrant middle class, to college affordability, and the opportunity to reach the American Dream?  It is time to stand strong for what we believe in and what is right for students and families, schools and the nation.  President Barack Obama has proven he deserves a second term.” During its meeting on July 2-5 in Chicago, the NEA Representative Assembly will meet to act on the PAC’s recommendation.  The NEA PAC Council – the NEA Fund for Children and Public Education – includes every NEA state association president and representatives from NEA’s constituent caucuses.  The Council is charged with making a recommendation to the NEA Representative Assembly.