WHEN: Thursday and Friday, March 17-18
Optional El Sistema Pre-Workshop on Wednesday, March 16

WHERE: San Diego

WHAT: Two-day conference with Thursday night celebration

Registration, Program and Accommodation information will be distributed in coming weeks

This two-day event will bring national focus to two school districts in San Diego County, where arts education has emerged as a priority to improve student success. San Diego Unified’s Title I arts integration initiative "Learning Through the Arts" is reaching students in twenty-two elementary schools with a coordinated arts integration system. Chula Vista Elementary School District has invested significant resources to hire over 70 credentialed visual and performing arts teachers since June, providing all students instruction in music, theater, dance, visual arts or media arts.

Why is this happening in San Diego? What are the implications for learning and success for all students? What can we learn from their example? The Arts Education Learning Exchange will enable participants to witness school site learning, hear from key leaders and stakeholders within the school districts and local arts organizations who are guiding these efforts, and learn strategies and resources districts can use to embed arts education in student learning.

A ‘celebration’ of student learning and community support WITH CELEBRITIES, ELECTED OFFICIALS, AND STUDENT PERFORMANCES FROM DISTRICTS AROUND THE COUNTY, will be held the evening of March 17 to recognize the role San Diego has taken in leading a national conversation about the critical importance of arts education in student learning. This celebration is provided at no cost by the California Alliance for Arts Education.

In addition to the two-day Learning Exchange, Chula Vista Elementary School District and San Diego Youth Symphony and Conservatory will offer a half-day workshop that immerses participants in the El Sistema principles and practices used to build community momentum for restoration of arts education across the district. Separate registration will be required.

CMEA Releases LCAP Resource Part 2 

Dear CMEA Member:

Happy New Year!  I hope that you enjoyed a restful and rejuvenating time with family and friends during the Holidays.

It’s time to begin advocacy work at your district level so that your music program can optimally benefit from the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF). Each January, California school districts begin planning process to determine Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) spending priorities for the next school year.  All California school boards must adopt their Local Control Accountability Plans (LCAP’s) by June 30th.

Last May, CMEA partnered with the other three statewide arts educator associations (4 ArtsEd Orgs) in California, California Art Education Association (CAEA), California Dance Education Association (CDEA), and California Educational Theatre Association (CETA), to create an LCAP Resource to assist our members in engaging with local governing boards to positively impact funding for school arts education via the LCAP.  That part 1 document was entitled:  “Be a Voice with Your Student.”

Now, the 4 ArtsEd Orgs are releasing part 2 of this project, entitled:  “The Second Layer:  Delving Deeper Be A Voice with Your Student” provided to assist members with actively engaging in the Local Control Accountability Planning Process at the district level.

Both LCAP Resources are found at:  http://www.calmusiced.com/ or http://www.standup4music.org/.

These documents will help you align music education goals and priorities in your district with Governor Brown’s Eight Priorities found in the LCAP.  Music educators must get involved in their district’s LCAP advisory meetings so that equal access to music education is provided for students who are socio-economically disadvantaged, English learners, and Foster youth.

I want to thank CMEA Immediate Past President, Russ Sperling, and CMEA Advocacy Representative, Steve Venz, for serving on this task force.  Also, kudos to Kristine Alexander, Executive Director of The California Arts Project, for helping to coordinate this project.

CMEA is pleased to support its members through this collaboration with CAEA, CDEA, and CETA!


Michael D. Stone
California Music Educators Association

LCAP Resource #1

LCAP Resource #2

AB 2862 (O’Donnell)

As you know, our legislative bill SB 725, for updating our VAPA Standards, was gutted in August to make way for a legislative vehicle to “fix” the high school exit exam situation. After serious discussion, the CMEA leadership in concert with the leadership of the other organizations within the 4ArtsEdOrgs Coalition decided to not return with a bill this year, but rather to focus on informing our members and school districts how they can adopt or endorse the National Core Arts Standards. This work is still ongoing and will continue.

Last week, the legislative office of Assemblymember Patrick O’Donnell, the Chair of the Assembly Education Committee, and also a former teacher, approached CMEA asking us if we would like to have a VAPA Standards Update bill brought back. After some fast phone meetings among all immediate stakeholders the answer was in the affirmative. AB 2862 picks up where SB 725 left off.

AB 2862 will be legislation that requires California to update and revise the Visual and Performing Arts standards for students in Grades Pre-K-12. The last adoption of course standards for the Visual and Performing Arts was fifteen years ago in 2001. In the interim, the base curriculum has changed, technology has evolved, and the visual and performing arts have transformed. California’s students should not wait any longer for the Visual and Performing Arts curriculum to be updated.

Music is a Core Subject, as stated in the recent federal revision of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). The Every Student Succeeds Act has replaced No Child Left Behind, and ESSA calls for a “Well Rounded Education” and specifically names Music as a Core Subject. The landscape has changed, but there is currently no mechanism in state law to update and review California’s standards. New law must be passed in order for the standards to be modified. AB 2862 will remedy the problem by calling on the State Board of Education to adopt new standards no later than January 1, 2019.

We will soon be putting out our own series of CTA’s (a CTA is a call-to-action) asking you to contact your legislators to support AB2862. If you know that your legislator is on the Assembly Education Committee (check http://aedn.assembly.ca.gov/membersstaff) please contact them immediately and ask them to support AB 2862 in the Assembly Education Committee Hearing on April 20, 2016. Further CTA’s will be forthcoming.

These are exciting times for Arts Education in California and in our country.


Scott Hedgecock
CMEA President

CMEA and the 4 ArtsEd Org Coalition, including California Art Education Association, California Dance Education Association, and California Educational Theatre Association, have responded to Huffington Post Columnist John M. Eger for missing the point of the recent Joint Committee of the Arts Oversight Hearing held on Friday, November 6, 2015, in Beverly Hills. The Hearing was convened by State Senator Ben Allen to address the fact that many California school districts are out of compliance with Education Code requiring arts education. Unfortunately, Mr. Eger’s article seems to change the conversation to push for an agenda of arts integration, or STEAM (i.e., Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) education, rather than discrete, content-based education in each of the four arts disciplines: Dance, Music, Theatre, and Visual Arts. The California Education Code is clear that all California students are required to have a course of study that includes discrete arts instruction in grades 1-6 and elective choices in grades 7-12.  Read the letter here.

Read CMEA's STEAM Position Paper