New Arts Education Standards

3/5/03

1. WILL THE STATE’S NEW EDUCATION STANDARDS INCLUDE THE ARTS?
2. ARTS FUNDING THREATENED. CALL OR WRITE YOUR LEGISLATORS AND THE GOVERNOR.
3. MINNESOTA STATE ARTS BOARD SEEKING INPUT

1. WILL THE STATE’S NEW EDUCATION STANDARDS INCLUDE THE ARTS?

MCA’s sister organization, the Minnesota Alliance for Arts in Education (MAAE), is organizing people to protect the availability of the arts in Minnesota’s public schools. The state’s “Profile of Learning” has been under fire since it was created as too burdensome for schools and teachers to deliver. It is a foregone conclusion this year that the Profiles will be dumped in favor of something else for Minnesota’s schools. Both the Profile and the federal “Leave no Child Behind” act included the arts as part of a basic education. The questions is, will Minnesota’s new standards?

The new Commissioner of Education gathered a group of people together to recommend replacement standards – but the arts are not yet included. They have announced that their first draft of new reading, writing and math standards is ready for review. (In just a few weeks, the parents, business people, educators and others drafted a document based on work in other states). Public meetings will be held on March 5 & 6. Contact MAAE for more info (below).

The Senate DFL has also proposed a new set of standards, but theirs do include the arts. (Senate file 639). It requires repeal of the Profile of Learning and development of replacement standards in math, English, science, social studies, arts and literature. The bill will now proceed to hearings in the Senate Education Committee.

Contact the Minnesota Alliance for Arts in Education if you are interested in working on this issue or attending the public meetings mentioned above: kathleen@allarts4allkids.org or www.allarts4allkids.org

2. STATE ARTS FUNDING THREATENED. CALL OR WRITE YOUR LEGISLATORS AND THE GOVERNOR.

Governor Pawlenty has proposed a 22% cut to arts funding in Minnesota for the next two years. The state provides funding to the arts in Minnesota by funding the Minnesota State Arts Board and eleven Regional Arts Councils, which give out grants and services in every Minnesota county. Nearly every arts activity in Minnesota benefits from these grants.

A cut at this time of economic peril for Minnesota’s arts community would be devastating. In response to a recent MCA survey, 65% of arts organizations reported they expected a deficit this year and next, even after cutting services, programs, staff and wage freezes. Corporate and foundation support for the arts is going down because of the bad stock market. A cut of state grants at this time would make it a “perfect storm.”

On Feb. 27, a thousand Minnesota arts advocates came to the state capitol and asked their legislators in person to lessen cuts to the arts. If you could not be there, please make your voice heard soon by calling or writing your legislators and the governor to ask them to “please support the arts.” You can get phone numbers and addresses for legislators here. Add your voice to the choir of arts advocates.

3. MINNESOTA STATE ARTS BOARD SEEKING INPUT

The Minnesota State Arts Board (MSAB) is developing a strategic plan that will dictate priorities and programs for the coming three years. In order to create a plan that meets the needs of all Minnesotans, they will hold eleven regional forums around the state to gather feedback from artists, arts organizations, arts educators, and arts participants. Ultimately, these forums will generate the ideas that will shape the Arts Board’s strategic plan. Your voice is important! Please plan to attend the forum, to discuss the current state of the arts in Minnesota, share your vision for its future, and offer ideas for achieving those goals. The complete list of forums (location, date, time), and information on how to register to attend, is available on the Arts Board web site http://www.arts.state.mn.us/about/strategicplan.html (or log on to the Arts Board web site and choose “Strategic Planning” from the pull-down menu on the front page). You need not attend the forum in your own region, but instead can register for the date and location that is most convenient for you.