Saturday, July 9, 2011

NBI 42--Fine Arts Advocacy--Narrowly Defeated

We will be reintroducing this next summer.
Fine Arts Advocacy Campaign & Advocacy Toolkit

Move that the NEA President designate a group of NEA members representing the Fine Arts disciplines of music, drama/theatrical arts, visual/media arts, dance, at the elementary, middle school and secondary level to create a Fine Arts Advocacy Task Force to develop a year-long “Arts Advocacy Campaign and Toolkit” to promote arts education and arts programs in public schools and foster collaboration between arts educators and classroom teachers.  Implement the unimplemented recommendations of the 2010-2011 NEA Fine Arts Task Force’s recommendations including:

Working with regional planning committees to highlight student performances during NEA regional conferences;

Developing workshops on arts education to be conducted at NEA regional leadership conferences;

Devoting portions of NEA Today to the arts during Art Education Month and;

Developing an arts advocacy toolkit.

The “Arts Advocacy Toolkit” will contain pieces that address the importance of the arts in a student’s comprehensive education, the need for the arts to be represented in curriculum reform, highlight models of effective advocacy campaigns and provide specific tools for students, arts educators and supportive patrons to use as they advocate for students.

The campaign will be promoted in NEA Today, at NEA events, on the website and in social media.


As a result of the economic and political climate, a disproportionate number of fine arts educators have seen their students, colleagues, and programs suffer cuts.  While the work of the Fine Arts task force created by the 2010 RA was notable, there was substantial constraints placed on the task force with a budget of $2500. 

The NEA Fine Arts Caucus was so conscious of making the 2010 new business item cost effective, that the original recommendations of the Fine Arts Task Force were limited to implement many of the Task Force’s recommendations. 

It is our responsibility to make sure that the arts be protected in these trying times.  Educators and community members need guidance and support to keep arts programs as a vital part of a student’s comprehensive education.

Submitted by Tom McLaughlin on behalf of the NEA Fine Arts Task Force.

COST PRIOR TO AMENDING MOTION:  $55,224.  Task Force $32,724.  Toolkit $16,500.00.  Staff Time $2000.00.

McLaughlin from Iowa speaking on behalf of the Iowa delegation and chair of the NEA Fine Arts Caucus moving New Business Item 42 as modified.

We all know that the NEA is under open and visible attack.  This needs to be a priority.  What we might be less aware of is the fact that the fine arts programs in our school are also more covertly, quietly, specifically and disproportionately under attack.  Frankly, it is more likely that arts educators and programs they teach will be subject to attack.  Programs have been outright eliminated to provide more time to teach to the test or because they weren’t viewed as vital.  This is absurd.  Teachers of the arts have loss time to teach their students because they have been highjacked to do this sort of coaching.  Many more programs that haven’t been cut are being starved out of existence by slashing or outright eliminating their budgets.  And, in many cases, these funds have been diverted to focus on creating test takers.  Or, equally troubling, we have seen our fine arts educators being asked to do the work of two or three educators as positions have been consolidated.
We know the arts do great things for our students.  In our ranks, our president is not only a respected nation leader, he is a proud high school trombone player.  We’ve seen the magical teaching that Lily has done with her guitar and many of us have cds, cassettes and even eight tracks to prove it.  Princess Moss’ and Greg Johnson’s dedication as music educators.  John Wilson’s brainchild of the NEA Friendship Night with NPR’s FROM THE TOP that awed us with the artistic work of arts students and our colleagues.  And while that was remarkable, we know that many of our students are being cheated out of their arts education and not being afforded the chance to excel like these students have been.
Last year this body created a NEA Task Force.  The group worked well to study the status of arts education in America, what has happened to membership as a result of these cuts, we surveyed our caucus members and the stories we’ve heard are alarming.  The Task Force made its recommendations to President Van Roekel who generously acted on as many of them as possible within the framework of the limited budget we allowed ourself.  We limited our budget because we needed the item to pass.  In doing so, though, we limited ourselves in taking some vital action steps.
In this resolution, our caucus has worked to revise every time we have seen an unreasonable costing.  We feel that what you have before you is VITAL and the least we can do to help our students who are being cheated out of a very important portion of their core education.  We must all be responsible stewards of our members money.  However, just because we are in a NEA Crisis doesn’t mean we should ignore other important priorities.  To liken this to a crisis at our home, when the furnace unexpectedly goes out, we do not quit feeding the children.  I’ve tried and trust me, you get into trouble when you do that.
As your colleagues, we ask that you support the implementation of all the Task Force’s Recommendation and that you put toolkits in the hands of our colleagues who are under attack, to protect our students who deserve the richness and creativity that these programs provide and to protect the arts in our nation’s schools.  VOTE YES on NBI 42.

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