“Bush vs the Arts,” originally appeared on pagosa.com, Feb. 17, 2005

For the fifth consecutive year, the President’s budget proposal has eliminated funding for the Department of Education’s Arts in Education programs, which includes model arts collaborations with schools, teacher professional development, and arts programs for at-risk youth. The President has never requested funding for these programs. Traditionally, funding is restored by the Senate and accepted by the House during the appropriations process.

The President’s budget is the first step in the appropriations process. While it serves as an important framework, Congress has the power to set its own priorities and change these funding levels. Make your voice heard by writing Members of Congress and urging them to increase funding for arts and culture AND restore funding for arts in education programs. Just visit the E-Advocacy Center at http://www.capwiz.com/artsusa and write to your elected officials urging them to support funding increases for the arts AND arts education.

Our schools are looking for ways to engage students and have them perform better on tests—up those CSAP scores. The Arts for Academic Achievement (AAA) program is about teaching students to love learning, to explore their world through unbridled access to the arts, and to apply themselves in ways they have never done before. It’s more than just teaching students how to paint or dance, and Minneapolis AAA reports that third grade reading scores on tests show “extensive” improvement. For more results, visit their website at Arts for Academic Achievement.

We need to ensure that Colorado has a creative workforce for the future. In a study (Gaining the Arts Advantage: Lessons from School Districts that Value Arts Education, President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities and Arts Education partnership, 1999) of 91 school districts nationwide, it was determined that the arts enhance a students ability to find creative solutions to problems and adapt to unexpected situations. Colorado has one of the most well educated workforces in America. The next generation deserves the opportunity to continue that trend.

Want to strengthen the arts program in our schools? Participate in or host an Innovative Teaching Through the Arts Workshop, April 15 and 16 at Adams State College, Alamosa. Teachers in ALL disciplines are encouraged to participate to learn exciting ways to use the arts in their classrooms. Graduate credit is available. Call 303-778-9374 or e-mail caae@artsedcolorado.org for more information.

Funding for these and other valuable programs is critical for the future of our country and our children. Please support the arts! Write to:

Senator Wayne Allard
954 East Second Avenue, Suite 107
Durango, CO 81301
970-375-6311
970-375-1321 (fax)
http://allard.senate.gov/contactme/index.cfm

Senator Ken Salazar
SDB-40A Senate Dirksen Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
202-224-5852 (Phone)
202-228-5036 (Fax)
http://www.salazar.senate.gov/contactus.cfm

Representative John Salazar
1531 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515-0603
Phone: (202) 225-4761
http://www.house.gov/salazar

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