Wyoming Arts Council

Modification to the Hathaway Scholarship to include music

A bill modifying the requirements for the Hathaway Scholarship was recently introduced by Elaine Harvey, a Representative to the House from Lovell. The bill as currently written would allow a student to substitute two years of music education in grades 9-12 instead of foreign languages. The bill does specify music education, not fine and performing arts.

The bill has been assigned the number HB0218 and is entitled Hathaway Success Curriculum. The bill as it currently stands can be accessed here. It has been referred to the House Education Committee. It is scheduled to be heard on Monday, February 2. For updates on the status of the bill, go to: http://legisweb.state.wy.us/2009/Bills.htm. The bill can be searched for by number. The bill at this point could be modified several times. It can be modified in committee, on the floor of the House, or, if passed, by the Senate committee or on the floor of the Senate.

Cindy Schmid and Amy Simpson, another music teacher, met with Rep Elaine Harvey and Rep Joe Barbuto yesterday. They were able to help them organize talking points for the bill, but did not feel they were successful in making the case to modify it to Fine and Performing Arts.

Following are a few reasons to request the modification to Fine and Performing Arts:
1) Wyoming does not have stand-alone standards in music; all of the arts are together under Fine and Performing Arts. Currently, students must gain proficiency in the arts in order to graduate with two of our three diplomas. Keeping it consistent with the current system is simpler for administration purposes, and for districts to advise students.
2) Not all students are good at music. If the purpose is to create successful students, providing as many avenues as possible for success is important. Changing the requirement to the Fine and Performing Arts allows students to select from music, art, dance or theatre.
3) All of the arts provide important benefits to students. A variety of studies has shown correlations between participation in the arts and the likelihood a student will stay in school. All of the develop higher order thinking and creative problem solving skills, which are in high demand in the workforce today.
4) People who participate in the arts are more likely to vote, volunteer and generally participate in public life.

There are many more reasons why arts education is necessary for the development of the whole child. Some links for more information on the importance of arts education are:
Arts Education Partnership
Americans For the Arts
Arts & Learning Toolkit from the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies

The members of the House Education committee are:
Del McOmie (Fremont)
Bob Brechtel (Natrona)
Cathy Connolly (Albany)
Bernadine Craft (Sweetwater)
Ross Diercks (Niobrara/Weston/Converse/Goshen)
Allan Jaggi (Uinta/Sweetwater)
Thomas Lubnau (Campbell)
Robert McKim (Lincoln)
Matt Teeters (Goshen/Platte)

Contact information for legislators can be found at: http://legisweb.state.wy.us/

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