Middle School Arts Ed is Saved! (for now)

We did it!!!!!!!!!

Dear ,

Because of your advocacy, Middle School credit requirements for arts, health, and PE are saved! For now at least. Yesterday, the state school board voted 11-4 to press the pause button on Rule 277-700 (the rule change that eliminated the credits), and send it back to the Standards and Assessment committee! This is the best possible result that we hoped for because now we can work with the members of the Standards and Assessment committee to craft a policy that maintains arts ed as a core part of a well-rounded education. The committee will likely discuss any such policy at their November meeting. Help us keep up the pressure by supporting our work with a donation today!

Please thank these board members for voting to send 277-700 back to committee: Terryl Warner, Spencer Stokes, Linda Hansen, Jennifer Graviet, Laura Belnap, Brittney Cummins, Carol Barlow-Lear, Janet Cannon, Kathleen Riebe, Lisa Cummins, and Scott Nielson.* 

Joel Wright, Alisa Ellis, and Michelle Boulter voted no. We think Mark Huntsman abstained. It is hard to tell exactly because they vote via roll call. Supporters of the rule change think that arts education isn't going anywhere because schools would have been required to offer it but students wouldn't be required to take it. This isn't a policy that we at Utah Cultural Alliance can accept because we know that all children should have a minimum, equitable level of arts and humanities education in order to have a well-rounded education.

We have to keep up the pressure! 
Continue to reach out to your school board representative and ask them to keep arts, health, and PE as core requirements of a well-rounded education. If your school board representative serves on the Standards and Assessment committee, please especially make an effort to reach out to them before the first Friday in November. Those members are:

  • Laura Belnap, Chair
  • Lisa Cummins
  • Jennifer Graviet
  • Spencer Stokes
  • Terryl Warner

It is likely that this committee may start with a revision proposed yesterday by Brittney Cummins. Her motion failed largely because several board members indicated that they needed more time to think about the revision. You can read it here. Her revision is essentially a compromise: schools (LEAs) would be required to offer arts, health, and PE; those subjects remain as core requirements; schools have the option to integrate these subjects into other areas; and students could be allowed to demonstrate competency to gain exemption from a requirement. We at UCA need to investigate this more, but this compromise appears to be something we can support.

This success is due to your hard work! Several school board members, in discussing 277-700 indicated that they had heard and listened to their constituents. Your petition signatures, emails, letters, testimony, and phone calls helped change many minds.Imagine how much more successful we can be as we continue to grow and organize culturally minded voters!

Will you help us keep up the pressure? Supporting our work with a donation or annual membership will help us keep up this fight. If you're able to do more, we invite you to give a sustaining monthly gift of $10, $40, or $100.

Other news:
In addition to voting on 277-700, they also voted to prioritize arts and cultural education funding in the recommendations that they send to the legislature for consideration. They voted (11-4) to list the Beverly Taylor Sorenson Arts Learning Program as priority #4 at a recommended level of $1.6 million. They unanimously voted to list iSEE/POPS funding as priority #8.

Thank you for your support of humanities and arts advocacy. Culture enjoys a strong level of public support in this state, together we can grow that support.


Crystal Young-Otterstrom
Executive Director
Utah Cultural Alliance
801.652.0737 // [email protected] 

*Because they vote via roll call, it's hard to tell exactly how they voted, so please let me know if you think we made any errors.

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