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Saturday, April 25, 2009
Art is Important for Graduation - Take Action
We need your help! Please read below and contact our Senators and Representatives as requested. The future of Fine Arts depends on it! Believe me, all of your voices together WILL make a difference! I attached what I wrote just to give you an idea. Thanks!
ACTION NEEDED: CONTACT YOUR SENATOR & REPRESENTATIVE ASAPIf you believe fine arts should continue to be required for graduation because it is important to the overall education of Texas schoolchildren and you believe that if the legislature doesn't require fine arts they will be sending school districts the wrong message about its importance, you need to call your Senator's and Representative's capitol offices. Ask them to vote no on SB3 and HB3 unless fine arts is kept as a graduation requirement (as is required in the current Recommended Program). This notification is urgent as Senate Bill 3 is expected on the floor Wednesday, April 29.Find your Senator's and Representative's Capitol Office Numbers <http://exfront.bisd.us/exchweb/bin/redir.asp?URL=http://www.fyi.legis.state.tx.us/>SUMMARY* The current one-credit fine arts graduation requirement will be eliminated if the Senate and House pass their current committee substitutes for Senate Bill 3 and House Bill 3 (the new accountability bills).* Senate Bill 3 is expected to go to the floor on Wednesday, April 29.* The bills include revisions to the Recommended Program for graduation. The revised program (commonly referred to as the 4x4+2) will require a student to take four years each of math, science, English Language Arts, and Social Studies plus two years of foreign language. The other eight credits in the 26-credit plan will be academic electives. After more than twenty years, there will be no fine arts credit requirement for graduation from Texas public high schools.* Without a fine arts requirement, many students will never experience rigorous, meaningful instruction in the arts.TALKING POINTSYou may select from the following talking points for why a fine arts requirement is important as well as add your own:1. Supports Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) Fine Arts Graduation Requirement: Currently, the THECB requires three credits of fine arts for a student to graduate with a baccalaureate degree from a Texas institution. To not include a fine arts requirement in high school is philosophically counter to this requirement. With no high school requirement, there would be no fine arts required for students in public school after grade five. A 4x4+2 plan does not support a seamless K-16 education for Texas students.2. Supports Leading Business and Technology Author Dan Pink's Philosophy of 21st Century Workforce Training: Twenty-first century work skill development should be the driving force behind our education system moving forward in Texas. As Pink details in his best-selling book, A Whole New Mind-Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future, while "left-brain" abilities are absolutely necessary, that dominance is gone and the workforce of the future belongs to a different kind of person with a different kind of mind - creative and empathetic "right-brain" thinkers. Rigorous instruction in fine arts is a major component of this workforce development.3. Impact on Minority and Low Socioeconomic Students: There is a genuine concern that these students, with no required exposure to fine arts in middle school or high school, will simply be channeled into courses focused on TAKS or end-of-course performance and not clearly given their options to explore fine arts, an area of study that may keep them in school and encourage successful academic performance in other subjects.4. Aligns Texas Requirements with Federal Legislation: The current core academic subjects defined in No Child Left Behind include mathematics, science, English language arts, social studies, languages other than English, and fine arts. Requiring a fine arts credit aligns Texas with NCLB as well as the core subjects of P21 - The Partnership for 21st Century Skills.5. Aligns with the College Board Publication, "Academic Preparation for College - What Students Need To Know And Be Able to Do": This College Board document defines the basic academic subjects as English language arts, fine arts, mathematics, science, social studies, and foreign language.6. Creates Flexibility: Even with a fine arts credit requirement, the Recommended Program will provide for seven academic electives from the foundation and enrichment subject areas versus the 3.5 elective options in the current Recommended Program.7. Offers Broad-Based Academic Experiences: Fine arts is a subject area offering students the opportunity to explore a variety of academic disciplines through state approved courses in music, art, theater and dance. The arts options are expansive and diverse unlike the other current required enrichment subjects such as communications applications and physical education which are singular or limited course offerings. One ISD includes over forty TEKS-based fine arts courses in its course catalogue.8. Supports Texas Education Code (TEC) Objectives: Adding a fine arts credit requirement supports a "well balanced and appropriate education" as called for in Objective 4 of Section 4.001 of the TEC.9. Supports Student Success: Based on a TMEA study of TEA data, students who participate in fine arts courses demonstrate higher achievement in other academic areas, better attendance records, and lower drop-out rates than students who do not participate in fine arts.GoArts.org <http://exfront.bisd.us/exchweb/bin/redir.asp?URL=http://www.goarts.org>7900 Centre Park Dr, Austin, TX 78754
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