Stop HB 434 removing the fine arts requirement for Texas high school graduation

Stop HB 434 removing the fine arts requirement for Texas high school graduation

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Abigail Hertzberg started this petition to Texas State House

To whom it may concern,

Thank you for your service to our community. I am, as a choir student with almost ten years of education in the arts, writing to inform you of my serious concerns regarding HB 434 and ask that you represent my voice during the 87th Legislative Session.

This bill would remove the requirement for ONE high school fine arts credit and allow students to choose either one fine arts OR one CTE (Career and Technical Education) credit to meet high school graduation requirements. Please understand that CTE and fine arts education are not interchangeable.

The unintended consequences of HB 434 limits a child's access to art education and the opportunity for a well-rounded education. CTE programs across the state have significant support through funding incentives and school accountability ratings. Fine arts education receives none of these incentives. Access to arts education in Texas is already inequitable, especially among rural and low- socioeconomic communities, and removing the one fine arts requirement (while CTE is bolstered by school administration and counselors because of incentives), unintentionally furthers the disparity among students in already marginalized communities.

Building a competitive workforce requires more than one skill set. Research from the Texas Cultural Trust has found that fine arts education prepares the 21st Century workforce by developing creativity, collaboration, problem solving, and critical thinking skills. Arts education is essential, not because students necessarily plan to have a career in the arts, but because the invaluable skills they learn through the arts will help them be successful in any career path they choose to pursue.

The benefits of arts education are considerable and essential. In addition to preparing a competitive workforce, the arts improve test scores, promote leadership and collaboration, boost school attendance, and double the likelihood of high school graduation.

I urge you to support and protect arts education in our public schools, especially during this pandemic. As you know, isolation and distanced learning due to quarantine provisions has, and will, continue to have an impact on the health and wellbeing of all Texans, including our children. Studies have also shown that access to the arts can have a positive impact on mental health and strengthen social and emotional learning by providing much needed opportunity for engagement, expression, and comfort.

Thank you for protecting arts education and opportunities for children to experience the arts in our schools. Please continue your commitment to ensure every student in Texas, regardless of their geographic or socioeconomic background, has access to fine arts education.

Removing this requirement insinuates further issues for support in terms of funding, staffing, everything...  Every student should have the opportunity to benefit from a fine arts course!

Respectfully,

Abigail

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At 200 signatures, this petition is more likely to be featured in recommendations!