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Arts Education 2013 State Legislation Roundup
Education policy is a complex tapestry in America, consisting of a dynamic mixture of federal, state and local resources and regulations. Within this multilayered system, many important decisions affecting the quality and availability of arts education are made at the state level.
This year, a number of state legislatures introduced bills affecting arts education. Some proposals aimed to enhance arts education, while others called for reductions to arts learning requirements. Here's a brief roundup of the 2013 arts education legislation NASAA staff has tracked with the help of the arts education specialists from numerous state arts agencies.
States with Arts Education Legislation in 2013
Arkansas S.B. 826 (died at adjournment sine die)
This bill would have reduced the arts education requirement for students in grades one through six.
Arkansas H.B. 1689 (enacted)
The bill was enacted in April and created a five-year pilot program to implement an "arts-enriched curriculum" in 15 schools. The pilot includes training for faculty.
California S.B. 432 (pending)
The bill would mandate development of an index to measure how well public schools foster creativity, innovation and problem solving.
California S.B. 571 (pending)
This bill would create the Arts for Kids Fund, which would support California Arts Council arts education grants. Taxpayers would be able to donate their state tax refunds to the fund.
Florida S.B. 428 / H.B. 283 (died at adjournment sine die)
The bill would have mandated reporting on student access to and participation in arts courses. The arts education report would have affected each school's grade.
Florida H. 1239 (died at adjournment sine die)
The bill would have mandated an annual "Arts for All Students" report for each K-12 public school.
Florida S. 1626 (died at adjournment sine die)
This bill would have created a system for assigning a "fine arts grade" to K-12 schools. Grading criteria would have included student participation in arts courses.
Massachusetts H. 2994 (pending)
The bill would form a commission to study adding arts to STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) programs, thereby changing STEM to STEAM.
Michigan S.B. 66 / H.B. 4073 (pending)
The bill would cut the existing high school graduation requirement of at least one arts credit. It would make art an optional elective credit in an optional curriculum track.
North Carolina H. 127 / S. 68 (pending)
The bill would add an arts credit to the high school graduation requirement. The board of education would set its criteria.
North Dakota H.B. 1334 (defeated)
The bill would have authorized a pilot program to fund schools' STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) projects. The bill would have appropriated $125,000 to the North Dakota Council on the Arts for STEAM grants.
Washington H.B. 1656 (pending)
The bill would set high school graduation requirements (currently set by the board of education) and require one credit in the arts.
Washington S.B. 5909 (pending)
The bill would amend state code to expand STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education standards to include the arts—turning STEM into STEAM.
Washington H.B. 1248 / S.B. 5451 (pending)
This bill would direct the superintendent of public instruction to award grants to support music education in state-funded all-day kindergarten classes.
Wyoming H.B. 177 (enacted)
This enacted bill modified the eligibility for state-sponsored Hathaway scholarships to require two years of instruction in the arts, in career-vocational education or in a foreign language.
For comprehensive information about all states' arts education policies, consult the Arts Education Partnership's State Policy Database. For more information about arts education and state arts agencies, check out NASAA's latest grant-making fact sheet or browse our arts education resources page.