February 22, 2013
From: Isaac Brown, Legislative Counsel
Federal Arts Education Policy Updates
I’m writing today with some congressional updates relating to federal arts education policy, as well as information on how you can help NASAA advance these efforts on behalf of all state arts agencies.
2013 is the year that Congress may take up reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). This is the set of policies that provides equitable access to education, establishes certain curriculum standards and authorizes federally funded school programs administered by states. As Congress grapples with other issues—such as deficit reduction and gun control—there is not yet a firm timetable in place for work on ESEA to commence. When it does, NASAA will be at the forefront of advocacy efforts working to ensure that:
New STEAM Caucus
The new congressional STEAM Caucus, led by Reps. Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) and Aaron Schock (R-IL), has begun its work. NASAA represented state arts agencies by attending this new group’s kickoff briefing, held on Capitol Hill on Thursday, February 14. The Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) is playing a leadership role in the operation of this caucus, and RISD President John Maeda addressed this gathering. NASAA CEO Jonathan Katz personally greeted and thanked each member of Congress who attended on behalf of their state arts agency.
The long-term goals of this caucus are to advocate for policy changes encouraging educators and federal agencies to integrate the arts and design with STEM education. In addition to cochairs Bonamici and Schock, the membership of the caucus currently includes Reps. Jim Langevin (D-RI), Jared Polis (D-CO), David Cicilline (D-RI), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Gerald Connolly (D-VA), Dave Loebsack (D-IA), Matt Cartwright (D-PA), Bobby Scott (D-VA), Louise Slaughter (D-NY), Tim Ryan (D-OH) and Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH).
H.R. 51 Still in Committee
On February 4, Rep. Langevin introduced House Resolution 51, asserting the importance of the arts and design as part of federal education policy. H.R. 51 was referred to the House Committee on Education and the Workforce and the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology. While passage of this resolution at this time is unlikely, it is still quite useful to advocates because its language frames the value of arts and design education in compelling economic and educational terms. In addition, it can serve as a valuable organizing tool, providing members of Congress the opportunity to go on record as supporting inclusion of arts education in STEM programs. Check out the full text of the bill here.
What You Can Do
NASAA will keep you apprised of new developments and calls to action as the work of the 113th Congress unfolds. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact me.