The Educational Theatre Association’s Advocacy Leadership Network ALN will begin accepting applications for new state chapter members on November 15. Launched in 2017, the ALN is designed to train state adult members in grassroots advocacy efforts on behalf of theatre and other arts education. The network selected members from 10 states in its first year and will accept up to 10 additional state representative in 2018. The network was launched to address a new era of public education signaled with the passage of the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) in 2015. ESSA gave greater responsibility to state and district decision makers to determine how and what education is delivered to their K-12 students. The new state ownership is expected to demand coordinated and ongoing advocacy by theatre and other arts educators to ensure that their disciplines are appropriately represented in school, district, and state decision making regarding curriculum, professional development, funding, staffing, and other critical issues.
“Our goal with the ALN is to create a coordinated team of state chapter representatives from throughout the country who can monitor and share local, district, state-based arts education policies, legislation, and advocacy successes that can be modeled by others,” said EdTA Director of Policy James Palmarini, who is coordinating the network. “There is a lot of great advocacy being done by EdTA members and the network is intended to give them the opportunity to share their knowledge and skills with each other.”
According to Palmarini, along with providing advocacy training and support, the EdTA national office will cover the travel and room/board cost of attendance for new 2018 representatives at an ALN in-person meeting in Cincinnati in spring of 2018; provide some financial support to help offset the cost of attending National Arts Advocacy Day in Washington, D.C., March 12-13; and waive the registration cost of attendance at the 2018 EdTA National Conference, in Denver, September 13-16.