The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) was signed by President Obama on December 10, 2015, reauthorizing the 50-year old Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) to create a long-term, stable federal policy that gives states additional flexibility and encourages innovation, while at the same time holding us accountable for results. The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) was signed into law in 1965 by President Lyndon Baines Johnson, who believed that “full educational opportunity” should be “our first national goal.”
Since the signing of ESSA in December 2015, the U.S. Department of Education has been working with states and districts to begin implementing the law. ESSA allows for an 18-month transition period for states to align their accountability systems to the new requirements. The law will be fully implemented for the 2017-18 school year.
It is imperative that arts constituents be involved in the community discussions and planning stages surrounding the development of a rough draft of the state plan for implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act (to be reviewed December 2016). Below is some valuable information and resources regarding ESSA and Arts Education.
The Wyoming Department of Education is currently hosting Statewide Listening Tours, during which the public is invited to share ideas and provide meaningful input that will be collected and considered in the development of Wyoming’s plan for the implementation of ESSA. The Wyoming Arts Council encourages you to attend one of these sessions near you, and share your thoughts and ideas!
Each session will take place from 6:30-8:00 p.m.
Nov. 3: Central Wyoming College, Student Center 103, Riverton
Nov. 9: Gillette College, GCMN 120 Presentation Hall, Gillette
Dec. 1: Western Wyoming Community College, RSC 3650 A and B Meeting Rooms, Rock Springs
Dec. 7: Northwest College, Fagerberg Bldg. Room 70, Powell
Dec. 8: Laramie County Community College, Center for Conferences and Institutes Room 121, Cheyenne
In addition, if you have any ESSA-related questions that you’d like to be officially considered, the Wyoming Department of Education asks that they be submitted to: ESSA.firstname.lastname@example.org. Specific comments (i.e. What are the current barriers regarding arts education in our state? What are some proposed solutions?) can be emailed to Kari.email@example.com.
The Wyoming Arts Council encourages you to make plans to attend a listening session near you and be proactive in providing input during these discussions surrounding the development of Wyoming’s plan for the implementation of ESSA.
College & Career Ready:
As stated in ESSA, “(52) Well-rounded education.–The term ‘well-rounded education’ means courses, activities, and programming in subjects such as English, reading or language arts, writing, science, technology, engineering, mathematics, foreign languages, civics and government, economics, arts, history, geography, computer science, music, career and technical education, health, physical education, and any other subject, as determined by the State or local educational agency, with the purpose of providing all students access to an enriched curriculum and educational experience.”
The AYP through ESSA is being replaced with multiple measures—including student engagement and postsecondary readiness. The arts are a proven way to increase student engagement, attendance, and academic achievement.
Example of standards-based assessments in music – Model Cornerstone Assessments: The National Association for Music Education has been working with music educators and researchers across the nation to develop instructionally embedded assessments called Model Cornerstone Assessments. While not created to support teacher evaluation systems, such assessments can serve as models for what content-based, instructionally appropriate assessments can look like in music and the arts. Music assessment examples can be found here.
Suggested language: Targeted Assistance programs may fund supplemental music/visual art/theatre/dance and arts integration programs which provide support to Targeted students to meet challenging state academic standards.
Last November 2015, Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (from Oregon) proposed an amendment which congress unanimously adopted to be included in ESSA. The amendment states: “Integrating other academic subjects, including the arts, into STEM subject programs to increase participation in STEM subjects, improve attainment of skills related to STEM subjects and promote well-rounded education.”
NOTE: In order to successfully integrate, student must first have a solid foundational understanding of those discipline areas, taught by a teacher certified to teach that specific disciple area.