Ingenuity is working with Arts Alliance Illinois, the Illinois Art Education Association and the Illinois Music Educators Association to plan for Arts Advocacy days in Illinois. To prepare community providers as advocates, Ingenuity is hosted an Advocacy Institute to train participants on speaking to elected officials, what to expect out of a legislative visit, and how to best articulate the case for arts in education. Current advocacy points include Illinois' implementation planning for the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the activation of the new Illinois Arts Learning Standards, and ensuring that the arts in schools are a part of the state's education budget.
In Fall 2016, hundreds of arts sector funders and providers attended Ingenuity's All-Partner Meeting to learn about the year to come, and share classroom experiences. If you missed it, here is the full resource site, including presentation slide deck, talking points and other resources presented at the meeting.
And be sure to share this video which is a reminder to CPS principals and members of CPS schools' governing bodies, such as Local School Councils, of the importance of the arts to each and every school:
In most urban school districts across the US, there are three main obstacles to offering consistent arts instruction in schools—time, collective will, and money. Too often state, city and school leaders say there is not enough time in the school day, a lack of a higher mandate, and not enough funding to consistently teach the arts.
Illinois is no different, ranking near the bottom in the level of funding states provide for public education. And like many other districts, CPS is not meeting the per-pupil spending amount suggested by the Illinois State Board of Education as needed to provide a child with a quality education.
Amidst this funding backdrop, Ingenuity’s advocacy work was essential to the development of the first CPS Arts Education Plan.
A resolution approving the Plan was passed by the Chicago Board of Education in November of 2012, and resulted in important policy changes, including:
These policies are only good if put into action. It is through this lens that Ingenuity continues its advocacy work, focusing on Plan implementation and long-term funding strategies to ensure that the arts gain and maintain their important place in the classroom.
Ingenuity is working with elected officials and local leaders to ensure their understanding of the importance of arts education in implementing education policies at the local, state, and federal levels. For example, U.S. Congressman Mike Quigley entered a statement into the Congressional Record expressing the importance of arts education and Ingenuity's work. Click here for his complete statement.