West Virginia Art Education Association
West Virginia Music Educators Association

STRAIGHT ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS ABOUT OUR LEGISLATIVE POSITION

From:
LINDA ELMER, President, WV Art Education Association
RICHARD LEMKE, President, WV Music Educators Association
JEANNE MOORE, Legislative Liaison for WVAEA and WVMEA

Date:
September 1999

Many Legislators--and even some members of our Organizations--have posed questions about our Legislative Position. We take this opportunity to provide answers.

QUESTION: What is the official Legislative Position of the WVMEA?

ANSWER: The official and only Legislative Position of the WVMEA and WVAEA is stated below. This position was adopted by the WVMEA Executive Board in December 1998 and reconfirmed In June 1999. It was adopted by WVAEA at a meeting of the Executive Committee in November 1998.

LEGISLATIVE POSITION

Members of the West Virginia Art Education Association and the West Virginia Music Educators Association are committed to providing high quality arts education for all West Virginia students. To achieve this goal, we ask for and will support legislation to maintain and strengthen current West Virginia curriculum and delivery standards for arts education by:

1. Raising the foundation allowances for professional educators above the levels currently specified in 18-9A-4 and 1-9A-5a; and by

2. Adding a new section to the Code assuring that all K-12 students will have available the services of certified specialist teachers of the arts.

QUESTION: Have you taken this position to the legislature before? It sounds familiar.

ANSWER: During the 1985-87 presidency of Harry Faulk, WVMEA requested legislative action to provide specialist teachers at all grade levels in all counties. In 1989 a bill providing for art and music specialists was introduced in the WV Legislature. The use of trained specialists at all grade levels was among the top four recommendations of a 1990 study sponsored by the WV Division of Culture and History and the WV Department of Education. It was the top priority of the 1991-94 Governor's Task Force on Arts In Education. Our organizations have been working singly and with others for 15 years to assure high quality arts education for all WV students.

QUESTION: What is a specialist arts teacher?

ANSWER: An art teacher is a professional educator who holds a valid teaching certificate endorsed for the teaching of art and indicating the grade levels in which the person is certified to teach art in the public schools. A music teacher is a professional educator who holds a valid teaching certificate endorsed for the teaching of music and indicating the grade levels in which the person is certified to teach music in the public schools. Both are arts teachers.

QUESTION: Are any other groups helping with this agenda?

ANSWER: We are grateful to the WVPTA, the WV Association of Elementary and Middle Schools Principals, and the WVEA for endorsing our position and for their encouragement and assistance.

QUESTION: What about Block Scheduling? What is the problem?

ANSWER: As settlement of the 1990 teachers' strike, the Governor, both houses of the Legislature, and the West Virginia Board of Education agreed to WVEA and WVFT demands including:

QUESTION: Have WVAEA and WVMEA taken a position on block scheduling?

ANSWER: Neither WVMEA nor WVAEA has taken a formal position on block scheduling. The majority of our members agree that school schedules are best determined at the local level. We also recognize that a number of schools that tried block scheduling for a few years are now moving away from, or modifying, their schedules, while in a few schools, block schedules have worked well.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
Linda Elmer, e-mail <lelmer@access.k12.wv.us>
Richard Lemke, e-mail <lemke@marshall.edu>
Jeanne Moore, 102 Brammer Drive, Char1eston, WV 25311.