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Big news! After 14 years of No Child Left Behind (NCLB), the beginning of a new era is at hand. Yesterday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a final conference report ushering in the beginning of a new acronym, ESSA, the Every Student Succeeds Act as the new federal K-12 education law.

The vote was 359-64.

Next stop is a vote in the U.S. Senate and the President’s desk by year-end.

Take two minutes now to help us to get the bill over the finish line by contacting your Senators with our customizable alert. Ask them to support the conference report. A vote is anticipated next week (the week of December 7th).

This bill has been years in the making. Americans for the Arts and about 87 other arts and arts education organizations have met yearly to publish a set of policy briefs to address arts education legislative objectives and share with arts advocates across the country every year for Arts Advocacy Day, now in its 29th year!

Most recently, we developed a national petition to the members of Congress serving on the conference committee to voice support for retaining 13 arts-friendly provisions within the bill. Combined, over 20,000 individuals signed the petition. Happily, many of these provisions made it into the final bill.

Today we are publishing a blog outlining and reviewing these many provisions in the final bill. We hope you will share it, comment on it, and send us your questions.

Among a dozen important pro-arts provisions, the bill will:
Retain dedicated funding for arts education with a new Assistance for Arts Education program;
Define a well-rounded education, including the arts;
Allow integration of the arts to increase participation in STEM courses and to improve attainment of STEM-related skills (STEAM);
Continue authorization of the popular 21st Century Community Learning Centers, that support the arts in afterschool, out-of-school, and expanded learning time in schools.

THANK YOU for your many, many efforts to ensure that arts education is supported in our nation’s new education law. Take this last step to help get the bill through the U.S. Senate.

With more responsibility for education policy shifting to the states, your action will continue to be critical, especially as federal reauthorization transitions to state implementation.

We will be in touch with many webinars and workshops to explain what this new law means for you, your schools, and your states. But for now, congratulations on this moment!


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