Monday, December 13, 2010

Advocacy Action Required Now!

Advocacy Basics for 2011

There are two things fine arts advocates need to be able to do this year that will be critical to the success of our advocacy mission. One is contact your elected officials either by phone, email, hand written note or in person, and two is be prepared to make verbal statements in a public forum such as a school board meeting or newspaper interview. If you are already doing these things, I applaud your efforts and preparation. We need art advocates to be outspoken during this critical period of education reform and reorganization. Legislators and policy makers at the state and local levels need to hear our voice.

As you read this, Indiana State Legislators are formulating the state budget for the next two years. They need to hear your voice as they formulate the state budget on the importance of adequately funding public schools.

Please do one of the following or both: Call or write your legislator as soon as you can and send them your message. Use these talking points for any of your messaging activities.

• Education funding must include consideration for the preservation of existing fine arts programs.

• The creativity of our children is a national resource we cannot afford to waste.

• Children need fine arts educational experiences that empower the imagination and enhance the capacity for creativity and invention.

• Neural networks within the brain’s operating systems are stimulated, strengthened and expanded when children are engaged in high quality art and music education experience. Visual arts learning experiences strengthen children’s attentional memory and music educational experience trains the brain’s capacity for working memory.

• If we could electronically scan the human brain while its subject was engaged in a regular classroom selected response learning activity, we could see a narrow band of neural networks within the pre frontal cortex on the left side of the brain stimulated during this typical educational event. Consequently when subjects are engaged in stimulating sensory based music or art experience, neural networks within both hemispheres of the entire brain light up like Christmas tree lights.

• There are three basic skills children need if they want to thrive in the knowledge economy: the ability to communicate effectively; the ability to collaborate, and the ability to do critical thinking and creative problem-solving. One cannot make the claim that quality, world class educational experiences are being provided for Hoosier school children if subjects and programs specifically designed to foster creative problem solving are removed from the curricula.

• Fine Arts education experiences are critical for a well rounded education. Human
beings are hard wired to think and dream in visual images. Ideas and
intellectual property dependent upon visual thinkers will become assets in the
new economy of the 21st Century. The refinement of the imagination as developed through the visual arts will provide future designers, engineers, scientists, entrepreneurs, innovators, professionals and others with the creative edge they will need to compete in an increasingly competitive and uncertain future.

• Students thrive in schools where art and music are present in the
curriculum. When educational experience is monotonous and based on tedious
pencil and paper seat work, learning often times goes’ into one ear, and out the
other. This fact is extremely important for policymakers to consider. Results
from the latest High School Survey of Student Engagement, conducted by
researchers from Indiana University with over 350,000 high school students
participating from across the U.S. reveals 67% of students did not feel engaged
during their school years. Upon further examination of the survey, students reveal subject areas like art, music and drama provide them with significant opportunities for personal engagement with their learning. Disengaged individuals frequently drop out of school resulting in higher crime rates, lack of unemployment opportunities and a myriad of other wicked socio economic problems. Public schools are the backbone of our communities. The health of our public school system affects us all.

• We know that children thrive in schools that provide regular quality fine arts experiences. The Governor simply cannot make the statement that we will finally reform education “centered upon children,” while shortchanging their opportunities for regular fine arts learning experiences in our schools.

Please feel free to compose your own fine arts advocacy messages and talking points, however it is vital that your state legislators here from you and that you are able to make a strong advocacy message in a public forum if you are called upon to do so.

You can find more advocacy resources here:

You can find and contact your state legislators here:

I thank you for your current and future advocacy efforts!

Warmest wishes!
Clyde Gaw
AEAI Advocacy Advisor

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Begin Messaging Now!

Newly elected legislators are preparing for the next legislative session. It is time to begin sending them messages that Indiana children's school arts programs are in danger of being marginalized or cut throughout the state unless adequate funding is provided to public schools.

Emails are good. Hand written letters are better. Phone calls are best!

You can call, mail or email your legislators here:

House of Representatives

Indiana House of Representatives
200 W. Washington Street
Indianapolis, IN 46204-2786
(317) 232-9600
(800) 382-9842


Indiana State Senate
200 W. Washington Street
Indianapolis, IN 46204-2785
(317) 232-9400
(800) 382-9467

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Southern Hancock Education School Funding Referendum

Greetings to all of the readers here at the Indiana Art Education Advocacy Action Blog."

This year, the children at my school, New Palestine Elementary are thriving once again in our choice based art program.

Sadly, I am not happy to report, our school district like many school districts across the country is suffering from a shortage of operating funds.

This development has put the future viability of elementary art education program experiences for the children of New Palestine Elementary in jeopardy.

Fortunately the administration of Southern Hancock Schools and a significant number of community members in New Palestine are working to pass a referendum in order to strengthen our schools and to keep important educational programs like elementary art and music in the curricula.

If you live in our district and would like to learn more about what you can do to support the Southern Hancock Schools pass the education funding referendum, check out this link: Vote Yes!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Saving Art Programs: Emergency Education Funding Will Help Schools Soon

This article has some good news for school corporations who are considering eliminating their art programs due to state education funding deficiencies.

Monday, August 9, 2010

10 Billion to Provide Quality Public Education

Here is the table that shows how much Indiana will receive to soften the blow of education funding deficiencies.

Let's get one thing clear. These funds are deficit neutral. We are suffering through the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression and our children should not be made to suffer because of the abuses of adults who are responsible for this economic collapse.

The U.S. Congress has the ability to prevent crippling education funding deficiencies and I am very happy this legislation was passed. Not only will children have more opportunities to receive attention from their teachers during critical educational experiences, other important educational programs critical to children's intellectual development can be saved. Art and music programs are vital to providing children a well rounded education and have the capacity to strengthen neurological structures of the brain.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Like I said...Good News....

Check this article out!
Thanks to all of our hard working folks out there who called or contacted their congressman and women!
I think this bill will help provide millions of children with profound educational opportunities and critical learning experiences in art programs across the country.

My exchange with Dr. Bennett.....

I was at the information meeting for teachers yesterday evening at the CIESU multi purpose room, and after the presentation by DOE staff on Indiana’s Growth Model, Common Core Standards, A-F School Grading, Teacher Evaluations, Reading Framework, Curriculum Mapping, and Rules for Educator Preparation and Accountability (REPA), I asked Dr. Bennett this question: "Based on the data from the High School Survey on Student Engagement, significant numbers of students (67%) do not feel fully engaged under the existing educational paradigm. Students do report significant opportunities for engagement in subject areas like art and music. Last year, after the Governor cut education funding by 300,000,000 dollars we experienced significant program cuts to art and music programs across the state. My question to you is this: Does the Governor plan a new round of education budget cuts for next year?"

His answer was no, he did not foresee more budget cuts. However with the grim news that Indiana's revenue forecast were down again this past quarter, I have my doubts.

Dr. Bennett then took the first part of my question citing the HSSSE data on engagement, and the current educational paradigm and twisted my rationale. We must do things differently in order to re-engage our students was his reply. That provided him with an opening to support his initiative for more refined testing methods. My thoughts were, "no, we do not need more testing, but more refined methods and support for teachers to personalize and emotionally connect learning experiences to the heterogeneous populations of children who exist in our schools."

Dr. Bennett then listend to another teacher who stated that budget cuts were impeding her ability to provide individual attention to her students in her classroom because her school had not hired enough teachers and she was administering instruction to 29 students in her classroom. Dr. Bennett replied that class size does not matter. He knew of no research that supported the idea that class sizes impeded learning.

I disagree. The Project Star Research clearly demonstrated the optimum student teacher ratio is significantly lower than 29-1 and should be half of that number. Legislators and state education policy makers should be working toward ratios much lower than 29-1. Ratio's beyond that should be cause for concern.

Good News....

"This just in from ISTA's Nate Schnellenberger:

Thanks to the efforts of Association members and staff across the country, the U.S. Senate is in the final stages of passing the federal jobs bill that will provide much-needed fiscal aid to the states.

The Senate today voted for cloture to proceed to a vote on Sen. Harry Reid's education jobs legislation by a vote of 61-38. Senators Snowe and Collins, both Republicans from Maine, crossed party lines and voted to put students and local communities first. The Senate, by the same vote, beat back a procedural budget point of order raised by Senators Judd Gregg (R-NH) and Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN). Despite the fact that the Congressional Budget Office determined that the legisation would actually REDUCE the federal deficit by $1.4 billion over ten years, these two Senators tried to further stall the legislation.

Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh supported teachers and public education by voting with the majority on these votes. If you have time, please call or email Sen. Bayh and thank him for his support.

A few steps remain -- this legislation still needs to pass the U.S. Senate and be passed by the House of Representatives before it goes to President Obama for his signature."

Monday, August 2, 2010

Education Jobs Bill Update

Here is the latest on the Senate's movement of this bill. If the Senate passes this bill, look for new money to be pumped into state coffers that will save teacher jobs nationwide, including thousands here in Indiana.

If you have not contacted your U.S. Senator yet, please consider doing so now:

Email Senator Richard Lugar

Email Senator Evan Bayh

Phone: 317-554-0750

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Call Sen. Lugar and Bayh Now!!

"Keep Educators Working Legislation" is being considered with the small business funding bill. Please call and leave a message for Senator Lugar 317-226-5555 and Senator Bayh: 317-554-0750 now!

Tell your Senators to vote YES on the education jobs amendment to the small business bill H.R. 5297

July 28-2010

Friday, July 16, 2010

Why Art Education Matters

Here is a great article by Lynda Resnick on the importance of art education.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Contact Your Senators NOW!!

The U.S. House of Representatives have passed two emergency education funding bills this past spring and summer. We need the U.S. Senate to step up and pass the ”Keep Educators Working” supplemental appropriation bill or we will have massive teacher layoffs and program elimination throughout the country this upcoming school year.

Save teacher jobs, save arts education programs.

Please contact your senator now.

Tell Senator Lugar, Senator Bayh and the rest of the U.S. Senate to support this legislation.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Immediate Action Needed before May 19th

Senate Bill 3206, Keep Our Educators Working Act is an important piece of legislation at the federal level. We need all educators and public education advocates to contact their senators now. You can do this here: National Education Association

From Educators Vote:
Go to and tell your story, participate in discussions and leave a message with our Senators and Congressman.
To keep up to date on this important legislation text NEA4KIDS and enter 77007.

Prevent student teacher ratios from marginalizing educational experience, keep valuable education programs alive, keep teachers in the classrooms. Contact your senators now.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

2010 AEAI Youth Art Month Address

Introduction: AEAI President Dr. Brad Venable
Why Arts Education is Important: Clyde Gaw
Camera: Payton Gaw

YAM Advocacy Speech Video Presentation

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Emergency Education Funding Passes, However....

Now that HB1367 has passed, it remains to be seen how individual school corporations will be able to sustain programs that provide for a well rounded educational experience for the children they serve. Rebounding from the devastating effects of cuts to the general fund used to pay teachers who deliver critical educational experiences to children will be a serious challenge for public schools and the communities they serve.

Each school corporation in Indiana is responding to the $300,000,000.00 funding cut as best as they can. Some districts will be able to weather this storm better than others. HB1367 will provide some stop gap measures that will soften the blow of teacher reductions in force and program eliminations, but make no mistake, children's educational experiences in many school districts within the State of Indiana will be narrowed and depersonalized as a result of funding cuts.

If your art program has been cut because of funding deficiencies caused by the State's education funding cuts, please contact AEAI's Advocacy Committee at and AEAI will contact your district and encourage them to reconsider such actions.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Youth Art Month Text

Please continue to contact your legislators. This is a critical week of negotiation.
Tell them to support our public schools with emergency funding measures.

Here is the speech text from our Youth Art Month reception:

Good afternoon! My name is Clyde Gaw. I am an art teacher.
I thank you all for coming to today’s event. Supporting children’s positive educational experiences is one of the most important things we can do.

One thing I know about is meaningful learning. This phenomenon could be described as life changing. When you see meaningful learning experienced by students, you can see them absorbed in a state of “flow.” Flow states are characterized by a dynamic single mindedness of purpose accompanied by intense feelings of engagement. Rigor is facilitated from within. Emotional attachment is key to meaningful learning.

Flow states are what art education is all about. When children are engaged in creative experience, they are receptive to all kinds of new learning. This is what art teachers do; they engage the visual and tactile senses with the creative spirit. They integrate art experience with essential educational content like reading, writing, geometry, history, critical thinking and problem solving.

In the year 2000 Dr. Eric Kandel won the Nobel Prize for a lifetime of research that showed stimulating sensory activity during learning experience significantly boosts long term memory formation. When sensory stimulation occurs, cells produce extra serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps those cells to grow. The serotonin acts as a kind of molecular fertilizer which can grow and expand existing brain cells and lead to physical changes within the brain. Dr. Kandel’s research reveals that neural networks are strengthened and expanded when learners are engaged in stimulating, sensory based meaningful learning events. The secret here is that the eyes and hands are the agents of cognition.

Consequently, when educational experience is not stimulating, learning can go into one ear, and out the other. This fact is extremely important for policymakers and voters to consider. Results from the latest High School Survey of Student Engagement, conducted by researchers from Indiana University with over 135,000 high school students participating from across the U.S. reveals 67% of students did not feel engaged during their school years. Upon further examination of the survey, students reveal subject areas like art, music and drama provide them with significant opportunities to personally connect with their learning.

Unfortunately, learning opportunities in the arts are dwindling in school corporations across the country and here in the State of Indiana. An unprecedented education funding crisis this year has lead to program cuts, and teacher layoffs. The revenue forecast for next year is not good either. The specter of larger class sizes, elimination of electives like art and music, will increase the likelihood of more dis-engaged students. Disengaged individuals frequently drop out of school resulting in higher crime rates, lack of unemployment opportunities and a myriad of other wicked socio economic problems. Public schools are the backbone of our communities. The health of our public school system affects us all.

If you have not contacted your Governor and state legislators and urged them to strengthen public education funding, I ask you to do so today.

Long term funding solutions must be created by our state leaders, or we are going to face a public education crisis unprecedented in our time. If your child’s art program has been cut, communicate with your school board to reinstate those programs once emergency school funding measures have been provided.

Arts education experiences are critical for a well rounded education. Human beings are hard wired to think and dream in visual images. Ideas and intellectual property dependent upon visual thinkers will become assets in the new economy of the 21st Century. The refinement of the imagination as developed through the visual arts will provide future designers, engineers, scientists, entrepreneurs, innovators, professionals and others with the creative edge they will need to compete in an increasingly competitive and uncertain future.
The creativity of our children is a national resource we cannot afford to waste.

We cannot afford future failures of imagination.

I thank you for bringing your families here today, and I thank you for your support of arts education.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Emergency Funding at Critical Crossroads

Please send your legislators another round of emails. School Corporations are cutting teachers and programs as you read this message.

We are at a critical crossroads.

Teachers and programs if cut, from a school corporation will not be called back if this emergency funding measures are not put into place. IPS has just cut 15.7 art teacher positions and just as many music positions.

We need to let legislators know we do not want education to be second rate here in Indiana.

Contact your legislators now.

Sunday, February 28, 2010


SB 309 or HB 1367 in a form that optimizes the usage of excessive cash balances, rainy day funds, offers flexibility in transfering money among various school funds and does not freeze salary increments is currently supported by the Indiana Association of Superintendents, Indiana School Board Association, Indiana Federation of Teachers and the ISTA.

However, there is much to be negotiated here within the next week in order for emergency school funding to be passed. Anything can happen during this time.

I need your help.

Legislators need to here from you.

I will be at the State House on March 2nd. If you can join me, I encourage you to stop by.

One cannot say we are preparing our children for the challenges of the 21st Century by increasing class sizes and narrowing or eliminating essential learning opportunities like art and music. The State of INDIANA needs to keep the promise of quality, well rounded educational opportunities for all of the 1.1 million children who attend public schools.

Call, write or contact your legislator and let them know you want them to support emergency education funding.

We cannot afford future failures of imagination.

Thank you for all that you do for the children in Indiana.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Senate Bill 309: Bi-Partisan Effort Needed To Secure Emergency Funding

Their seems to be some agreement between Republicans and Democrats in the Indiana General Assembly that emergency education funding is necessary in order to keep thousands of Indiana teachers and education staff out of unemployment lines and in the classrooms working with Indiana school children next year.

Representative Greg Porter has been instrumental in moving this legislation forward.

Read about it here:

However, we still need you to encourage your legislators to support emergency school funding measures.

Here is what may happen if this legislation is not passed:

Please continue to write or contact your legislators and urge them to support SB309.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Movement in the Legislative Process

Earlier last week, the Indiana Senate took HB1367 and stripped the House features out and inserted language that would degrade public education by requiring teachers to bear the brunt of any emergency funding costs with mandatory pay and benefit cuts and elimination of annual pay increments.

Yesterday, the Indiana House of Representatives re-inserted language into SB309 that was supported by the Indiana Superintendents Association, Indiana School Boards Association, Indiana Federation of Teachers and Indiana State Teachers Association.

There have been other changes to S.B. 309.

You can read about this legislative process here:

It is very important that we continue to contact our legislators and tell them about budget cuts that have happened or are going to happen if they do not provide emergency education funding relief. They need to know about current class sizes, class sizes that will result from r.i.f.s, program cuts, service cuts and all other essential elements that provide quality, well rounded educational experiences for our children.

If our children were blank slates, we could just transfer knowledge directly into their brains through direct instruction. However, scientific evidence does not support this view.

It takes many resources and an army of dedicated educational professionals to provide optimal, quality educational experiences for over 1.1 million children currently in Indiana Public School classrooms.

The cognitively diverse, heterogeneous populations of children in our classrooms deserve the best possible learning opportunities we can provide.

Children develop a lifelong love of learning and literacy when their are adequate numbers of educational professionals in position to respect and strengthen their individual abilities and facilitate their drive to learn.

Current trends in education funding indicate higher classroom sizes that will degrade the physical, emotional, and cognitive growth of students and the elimination of programs that are vital the development of innovative thinking skills critical to economic success in the 21st Century.

It is clear Indiana Public Educators have been asked to do more and more with less and less.

We cannot afford future failures of imagination.

Contact your legislators here.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

HB1367 Stripped of Emergency Funding Flexibility Provisions

See: ISTA Legislative Hotline:

Despite the rhetoric by state politicians of providing local control of schools to the local communities where those schools exist, Indiana communities will have lost that ability once this legislation passes. Local school boards will not have the power to fund their school programs and teachers as they see fit.

Control of education funding limits school districts ability to support a curriculum that provides for a well rounded education.

Indiana children's opportunities for meaningful, personalized learning experiences will soon be marginalized, narrowed and re centralized by an autocratic governing board controlled by powerful forces in Indiana State Government.

According to recent trends in funding priorities, Indiana State Government is not doing enough to facilitate 21st Century learning skills.

Contact your legislator today and tell them you are concerned with the direction of school funding and future of our public schools. There are cuts taking place all around the state and our legislators do not understand where they are taking place.

If you know where local school program cuts or staff cuts are taking place, let your
legislators know what is going on. Contact them here.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Monday, Feb. 15 Committee Hearings

Greetings Everybody. Here is the info on upcoming legislation on emergency education school funding bills HB1367 and SB309.

The HB1367 will be in Senate Rules committee for dicussion. Contact these Senators and let them know of your concerns on school funding.

Chair: Senator Long
Members: Wyss R.M., Bray, Charbonneau, Gard, Lawson, Merritt, Steele, Simpson R.M.M., Hume, Lanane, Sipes.

This is a critical time in the school funding legislative process. Your silence means you consent to these cuts.

The time to speak out is now!

SB 309 will be discussed and examined by the House Education Committe Monday also.

Hear are the members of that committee:

Chair: Representative Porter
Vice Chair: Representative Oxley
Members: Cheatham, Kersey, Riecken, V. Smith, VanDenburgh. Behning R.M.M., Clere, Noe, M. Smith, Thompson.

Any language in the Senate education bill that cuts teachers pay without their consent, is bad for education and the hardworking professionals who work with over 1.1 million Indiana school children. Many teachers have not had pay raises in several years.

Let your Representatives know how you feel.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Senate Bill 309

Indiana Senate Bill 309's main feature of freezing pay and insurance benefits of educators even in districts that have surpluses, is not in the best interests of hard working teachers many of whom have not had a pay increase in the past 6 years.

SB309 originally submitted by Senator Alting would have been ok, except it was changed in committee by Republicans to weaken public education by freezing teachers wages and insurance benefits even in districts that have budget surpluses. Totally unfair!

I am assuming something will be worked out between the two legislative bodies, but the Senate's bill is an attempt to weaken public education, by destroying teachers rights to collective bargaining, something Indiana public school teachers have done since 1973.

We need to contact all of our State Senators and let them know we expect education jobs to be saved during this economic crisis.

Teachers and children should not be penalized for a recession they did not create.

Contact your legislators here and urge them to pass H.B.1367. Write your message.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

H.B. 1367 Passes in the Indiana House of Representatives

Today, HB1367 passed in the Indiana House of Representatives by a party line vote. Fifty one Democrats voted to pass emergency funding measures designed to prevent catastrophic public education program and staffing cuts that would have lead to higher class sizes, a narrowed curriculum and cuts in dynamic learning opportunities for children in music and art. 48 Republicans voted against it.

The bill will move to the Indiana Senate where it will undoubtedly be compromised. The Indiana Senate has a competing funding bill of which one of the main features is to freeze educator's pay. I can tell you this, there are educators in Indiana who have not had pay raises for the past 6 years and they have worked very hard during that time.

We need to let Indiana Senate Repbulicans know the children, teachers and administrators who work within our public schools who had nothing to do with the economic crisis, deserve better than the higher class sizes and narrowed curriculum that will result from the Governor's education budget cuts.

Let's be clear: Public schools educate over 90% of Indiana's children.

Public Education deserves more support than is currently recieved from the Governor and his political allies in the General Assembly and Indiana Department of Education.

We need citizens to speak up and take action. Share this email with your colleagues, family and constituents and ask them to write or call their legislators, better yet pay them a visit if they come to your local community or visit them at the state house. We need Indiana state senators to hear from the voting public asap.

Public education, which the state of Indiana is constitutionally obligated to support, needs to be adequately maintained so educators can deliver meaningful, quality educational experiences to our children.

Contact your state senator here.

Tell them to support H.B. 1367.

We cannot afford future failures of imagination.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Eliminating Children's Prospects for a Well Rounded Education Like Eating Your Seed Corn

Great Letter to the Editor of the Lafayette Journal and Courier from Van E. Neie.

Check out the link below:

"Eating Your Seed Corn"

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Advocacy Links

Dana Foundation on Neurological Growth and Arts Learning Experiences

NAEA massive Arts Advocacy Page

Arts Education Partnership

Americans for the Arts

Incredible Art Department' Incredible Advocacy Links

Kennedy Center Advocacy Took Kit

Indiana Coalition for the Arts

Art Education Association of Indiana

Invitation to Lobby

I will be at the State Capitol on the 2nd floor February 2nd. Please join me and tell your story to state legislators. These stories are very important and legislators need to hear them. You can influence emergency school funding legislation with your story. Please consider joining me on February 2nd.

Indiana Public Education Funding Crisis

Children's critical learning opportunities in elective subject areas and fine arts programs are currently threatened by funding deficiencies from education budget cuts here in Indiana.

The Art Education Association of Indiana knows program cuts are taking place in public schools across the state as a result of the funding crisis.

U.S. Citizens can not build a strong America without comprehensive educational experiences for future generations. Test prep, narrowed curriculum experiences will not provide optimal learning experiences for our future generations. There are important reasons why fine arts learning experiences were placed in public school curricula in the first place.

Stay informed on this important, underpublicized public crisis.

You do not have to be a member of the Indiana State Teachers Association in order to follow the ISTA Legislative Hotline ( ).

Education emergency funding legislation is currently being debated and formulated in the Indiana General Assembly and your state senators and representatives need to hear from you.

Take action.

If you have not called or written your state lawmaker yet, I urge you to consider doing so as soon as possible.

Contact your legislators ( ) and encourage them to support education emergency funding House Bill 1367 or provide other real solutions to the education funding crisis that our children, staff and educators had no roll in creating.

We cannot afford future failures of imagination.