Children in a performance

The Every Student Succeeds Act Becomes Law!

Advocacy Update

On December 10, President Obama signed into law the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which includes key provisions that support access to arts education. ESSA will replace the current national education law, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), also known as “No Child Left Behind.”

This is a historic time for education in our nation! The new law includes several provisions for arts education:

  • The arts are included in the definition of a “well-rounded education.” Well-rounded subjects are specified as eligible uses of Title I funds, the largest pool of federal resources dedicated to ensuring equitable access to a complete education for all students.
  • ESSA retains the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program which supports afterschool, out of school, and summer learning programs. These are key areas in which arts organizations partner with schools to support student learning in the arts.
  • Arts education programs and projects are eligible for funding through the new Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grant Program
  • Programs supported by the current Arts in Education program at the U.S. Dept. of Education are retained as the Assistance for Arts Education Program.

Click here for more information on arts education provision in ESSA.

ESSA aims to provide all elementary and secondary students with fair and equal opportunities to achieve a high quality education, and these provisions for arts education will ensure that all students, including those in high poverty schools, have the opportunity to access arts education.

This is a significant victory for arts education and your participation in many advocacy calls to action has played an important role in this achievement. Thank you!