The first thirty days of the legislative session saw four pieces of legislation introduced that were harmful to arts education in Michigan’s schools. You may recall emails earlier this month discussing a number of bills (HB 4072, HB 4073, HB 4088, SB 133) that had a goal of increasing opportunities for Career and Technical Education (CTE) and other subjects within the Michigan Merit Curriculum (High School Graduation Requirements). ArtServe had sent out two emails providing information and action alerts for those whose elected officials sponsored the bills informing them of our concerns. While we were supportive of increased opportunities for students to take other subjects, we were opposed to it being done at the expense of arts education. Following a couple of hundred emails and phone calls and ArtServe’s work behind the scenes, I am pleased to let you know that we have successfully maintained the one credit requirement for the Visual, Performing and Applied Arts within the new draft of the legislation. Yesterday, a small group met with Representative Ed McBroom (R – Vulcan – District 108) to discuss our concerns and hope to work with the legislature as they continue with their desire to amend the Michigan Merit Curriculum. To our appreciation and surprise, Representative McBroom presented us with a new draft of his legislation that continues to expand opportunities for CTE but leaves the VPAA without any changes. In fact, the draft includes an additional line of text – “A school district or public school academy is strongly encouraged to offer visual arts and performing arts courses.” Click here to download a copy of the draft legislation. Representative McBroom, who has a background in the arts having earned an Instrumental Music Degree from Northern Michigan University, is leading the way in the House in amending the Michigan Merit Curriculum. We are grateful to the Representative for understanding the unintended consequences that the earlier drafts had on arts education and appreciate his leadership. If you live in Rep. McBroom’s district, I encourage you to call his office to thank him – 517-373-0156. Moving forward, we are told that the plan is to introduce the new drafts within the next week or two. Trust that ArtServe will continue to follow this legislation as it progresses through the legislative process – keeping you informed along the way. As always, if you have any questions or comments please feel free to reply to this email or call Mike Latvis directly at 248-379-5897.