I’m reaching out to you today to introduce you to a new national campaign in support of arts education for all students. The Arts Are Education campaign addresses three timely concerns during the current season of budget creation in a most unusual time when Massachusetts schools are facing:
– Budget shortfalls due to state and local budget deficits caused by the pandemic recession.
– A focus on remediation for pandemic learning loss, potentially leading to limited access to arts education for students who are behind.
– A continued need for personal protective and sanitization equipment unique to the visual art classroom to mitigate viral spread.
MAEA has released guidance for PreK-12 schools, administrators, and arts educators as they plan for the 2020-2021 school year, to ensure that we may continue to provide meaningful arts instruction for all students in Massachusetts. Click on the link to view the MAEA Guidelines for Visual Art Education in Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic drafted by members of the Massachusetts Art Education Association.
The mission of MAEA is to advance high quality visual arts education for all students by empowering art educators to excel in the practice, instruction, promotion, and celebration of visual art.
Commissioner Riley shared DESE guidance for arts and physical education courses on July 24. We encourage arts educators to look over this guidance as they being to prepare for the fall. Please note, this guidance is being released in late July 2020 and may be revised as DESE continues to monitor COVID-19 trends and the latest medical research. On pages 3-4 you will find details regarding shared equipment and on page 7 you will find specific details related to the visual arts.
After you review these recently released guidelines, for those of you teaching in public schools, we also suggest you continue to connect with your education association (locally and at the state level) for continued updates regarding advocating for the safety of children, families AND educators.
We know the crucial role arts education plays in our students’ academic and personal success. As Massachusetts Public Schools respond to the COVID-19 crisis, plan for the upcoming school year, and address budget shortfalls, arts education is particularly vulnerable. The Arts for All Coalition is working to protect arts programs and educators to ensure equitable access to creative outlets for all students, and they need your help.
They are gathering information about district funding plans so they can identify at-risk schools and support action to protect them. They rely on the networks and knowledge of arts advocates like you to help them stay updated and alert to what is happening in your district.
Your input will be shared with arts education advocates across the Commonwealth, but your personal information will not be shared. If you are able please pass this link along to your network of parents, educators, and arts advocates so they can broaden our knowledge base.
The Arts for All Coalition has also begun collecting important data for districts in Massachusetts for future advocacy efforts. You may have seen Arts|Learning already looking for the names and contact information for District Arts Coordinators and/or Arts Department Chairs as well as Parent Support or Booster Groups for the Arts.
Right now, the Commonwealth and its cities and towns are grappling with major losses in tax revenue and increased sanitation costs brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. In facing these hard decisions, several school districts have laid off educators, including arts educators. As schools plan to reopen in the fall, students will need more educators and resources that support their social and emotional learning, not less. Reach out to your MA Legislators to advocate for the protection of Chapter 70 Education Funding and equitable access to quality education. Advocate for Arts Education here.
During these uncertain times, MAEA members are working hard to advocate for the continuation of rigorous arts education programs and educators. There are advocacy resources available here to help support and advocate for your local and state arts programs. In addition, use these images to help promote the arts on your websites, blogs, and social media pages.
Right click to download the image below and share using the hashtag #ArtsEdIsEssential#VisualArtsEdMatters #wickedsmART and tag @NAEA or (@WhyArtMatters on Instagram) and @MassArtEd.