The U. S. House of Representatives has passed a measure to rewrite the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) which contains special provisions to incorporate arts education into STEM education (science, technology, engineering and math) provisions.
Considered a major “win” for arts education, the provisions were included in an amendment that was adopted unanimously by voice vote by the House-Senate Conference Committee working on the rewrite of ESEA (also known as “No Child Left Behind”). According to Americans for the Arts, “after many years of anticipation, this bipartisan legislation will set new K-12 education policies impacting the nation’s 100,000 schools across the country.” Specifically, 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.
Now known as the “Every Student Succeeds Act”, the bill now goes to the Senate for passage before Christmas.