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In honor of Arts in Education Week: Tips for parent advocacy

September 11th, 2011 by Natalie

 Here at Right Brain, we’ll be spending September 11th through the 17th celebrating the second annual National Arts in Education Week, designated through the U.S. House of Representatives’ landmark July 2010 resolution that acknowledges and loudly affirms creative interdisciplinary learning.

House Congressional Resolution 275, which supports the development of enhanced learning experiences for all children, states: “[…] Arts education, comprising a rich array of disciplines including dance, music, theatre, media arts, literature, design, and visual arts, is a core academic subject and an essential element of a complete and balanced education for all students.”

Seeing arts education valued to this degree at the level of federal government is a monumental step towards ensuring the future success of our schools and our children. But it’s also worth remembering that we can make our own unique ideas for change heard at a community level. We invite you to join us as we observe this week through a series of parental advocacy-themed posts compiled by guest Deb Vaughn, Oregon Art Commission’s Arts Education and Poetry Out Loud Coordinator.

Deb shares our conviction that early education is not just enhanced by the arts, but that it is a vital component. And like us, she’s concerned about the ways in which educators’ and children’s access to creative resources are being compromised. Stay tuned as she shares helpful links and daily advice for taking a proactive approach to parental advocacy. In the meantime, get to know her by reading her personal story below:

“I’ve been an active advocate for arts education for nearly twenty years.  During the early 1990’s, the Oregon legislature proposed a re-structured property tax system that deeply impacted school funding.  As a public school student, I took it upon myself to write to my legislators (even though I wasn’t old enough to vote yet) to express my concern about the impact those funding shifts would have on the arts in my school.  Unfortunately, my teenage concerns failed to sway the outcome of the vote and here we are, twenty years later, with Oregonians tracing our current struggles with arts education back to those tax changes in the 1990’s.

My husband and I are now expecting our first child.  As arts educators (I’m a former creative drama teacher and he’s the technical director for a college theatre program), we feel like we’re in a good position to help our child experience the arts.  In fact, the little one has already been to see shows at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, one of America’s largest and most outstanding regional theatres.  (During the production of Pirates of Penzance I could have sworn I felt someone doing jazz hands in my belly.)  But I know that as much as we love and value the arts in our family, when the time comes to send Junior off to school, we will have to be active, passionate, vocal, unrelenting advocates.”

Tomorrow, we’ll hear from Deb about one way she plans to remain active as a parent. In the meantime, read more about what Right Brain is doing to support parent advocacy!

**Deb’s introduction and forthcoming entries are expanded from her recent blog for Americans for the Arts.**

Natalie Garyet is the Communications Intern for The Right Brain Initiative.

   

Natalie