President signs new Education Bill into Law

President Obama signs new Education Bill into LawOn Thursday, President Obama signed the reauthorized Elementary and Secondary Education Act into law.


Dance/USA explained yesterday, “The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) reauthorizes the long-overdue ESEA legislation, which needed reauthorization in 2007. A Congressional joint conference committee has been working together to merge both the House and Senate passed versions of the bill. The result is legislation that moves more of the decision-making from the federal level to the states, but also retains many provisions that support the arts.”


To boil it down, Dance/USA listed the following outcomes:


1) The arts and music are included in the definition of a “well-rounded education.” The phrase “core academic subjects” was eliminated and the number of subjects included has expanded. This allows state and local advocates to continue to urge their policymakers to seek Title 1 funding, as arts education is eligible. 


2) Arts and Music are eligible for new, state-administered “Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants,” which allow the integration of the arts into STEM learning programs. (Contrary to other language, this is not direct support for or a shift towards STEAM, but the opportunity for additional integration.)


3) ESSA retains the 21st Century Community Learning Center funding. Arts and Music are eligible for funding under “expanded learning time” provisions.


4) The Arts in Education fund at the U.S. Department of Education is retained but renamed “Assistance for Education” fund. 


In summary, this was a big win for arts education! Keep up with other larger dance education and performance issues at Dance/USA.


Photo: President Obama smiled on Thursday after signing the Every Student Succeeds Act, “a major education law setting U.S. public schools on a new course of accountability” according to NPR. Photo by Evan Vucci/AP.