Why advocacy? 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. These policies, however, 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 has been fortunate to have the support of many local, statewide and federal elected officials who recognize the transformative power of the arts in education and join us in advocating for equitable access to the arts for all students. For example, in 2014 U.S. Congressman Mike Quigley entered a statement into the Congressional Record expressing the importance of arts education and Ingenuity's work.
Whether you are a parent, teacher, teaching artist, student or just a citizen who supports the arts in education and would like to participate in advocacy efforts around this worthy cause, here are some ways you can get involved!
Let us know if we can further support your outreach efforts in any way!