Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Massachusetts ESSA Plan - Voice Support for Arts Education by MARCH 9th!

This just in from our friends at MassCreative:

Arts education just elevated its status in Massachusetts schools.

As you may have heard, last week the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) released their Massachusetts Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) State Plan on what determines a successful school in the Commonwealth.

Access and participation in arts education for grades K-12 is specifically placed in the State Plan as a strategy to broaden the curriculum for every Massachusetts child.

This is a pivotal moment for the future of education in Massachusetts, and having access and participation in arts education included in the Plan is a sea change for how the state views and provides arts education for Massachusetts students. Thanks to both the DESE staff for their thoughtful research and analysis and to the public for encouraging state education officials to includes arts education as an indicator of success in K-12 Massachusetts schools.

All of this work comes on the heels of the 2015 passage of the new federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which directed states to restructure their accountability and assistance systems for schools and districts. Kudos to Massachusetts for moving beyond its current accountability system based on just test scores, graduation rates, and language proficiency by including access and participation in arts education. 

DESE is welcoming public comments until March 9, before the DESE board votes to approve the Massachusetts ESSA State Plan. DESE then expects to submit their approved plan to the U.S. Department of Education on April 3.