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Rob  Feinberg
By Rob Feinberg March 26, 2012

Funding and partnerships have increased

During his presidential campaign, Barack Obama promised to "increase resources for the U.S. Department of Education's Arts Education Model Development and Dissemination grants, which develop public/private partnerships between schools and arts organizations” and to "engage the foundation and corporate community to increase support for public/private partnerships."

According to the Education Department, Arts Education Model Development and Dissemination Grants help elementary and middle schools integrate arts into their curriculum.

The Department of Education provides a list of how much money is appropriated each year to fund the grants. We took those numbers since 2007 and put them into a table to get a clear picture of how funding has changed for the program since Obama took office.


Funding for Arts Education Model Development and Dissemination Grants











Since Obama took office in 2009, there has been a largely steady increase in the amount of money appropriated for the grants. Funding increased by over $700,000 from 2008 to 2009 and over $900,000 from 2009 to 2010. And while funding did decline in 2011, it nonetheless represents an almost 10 percent increase from pre-2009 levels.

However, those increases only tell part of the story. Obama"s fiscal year 2013 budget proposal includes the consolidation of the Arts in Education program and these grants into a new program called Effective Teaching and Learning for a Well-Rounded Education. This program would combine grants for arts, foreign language, literacy and other subjects into one large program.

At a Feb. 2, 2010 briefing on the administration"s proposed 2011 budget, Assistant Secretary of Education Carmel Martin addressed the potential consolidation of the grants.

"What we"d like to do is fund the best proposals,” she said. "The intention is not to break it down into individual programs again.”

Narric Rome, spokesman for the arts advocacy group Americans for the Arts, said this would mean that "the model program would cease to exist as a discrete grant competition.” However, as of now, the administration has continued to increase resources for the grants.

In his promise, Obama also promised to "engage the foundation and corporate community to increase support for public/private partnerships.”

Obama first addressed this issue as part of the stimulus passed in 2009. Part of the act created the Investing in Innovation Fund, providing grants for schools and nonprofits to work together to improve student achievement. One category is development grants, which provide up to $5 million to schools or nonprofits that find a philanthropic organization or business that will match 20 percent of the funds.

In 2010, the fund provided $650 million in grants for 49 awards, with three specifically going to arts education programs. In 2011, the fund provided $150 million in grants, and the department launched a third round of applications for grants in February 2012.

The administration has also worked with the National Endowment of the Arts to create more opportunities for partnerships between the public and private sectors.

NEA spokeswoman Victoria Hutter said that under the Obama administration, the NEA has launched a few new programs with the intent of creating more public and private partnerships. One major program is Our Town, launched in 2011 to improve the quality of life in towns and cities through arts partnerships involving government bodies, nonprofit organizations and the private sector.

Hutter specifically cited an Our Town-funded project in Chattanooga, Tenn. led by the nonprofit Allied Arts of Greater Chattanooga. According to Hutter, the organization partnered with a foundation, a landscape company and a business development firm to transform a vacant lot into a new urban park.

Hutter said that the fund has been so successful that the administration is seeking to double funding for the program from $5 million to $10 million in its 2013 budget proposal.

Since Obama took office, the administration has increased funding for Arts Education Model Development and Dissemination Grants while also working with the Department of Education and the National Endowment of the Arts to increase public and private partnerships in the arts and art education. We rate this as a Promise Kept.

Lukas Pleva
By Lukas Pleva December 11, 2009

More money in 2010 budgets

During the campaign, Barack Obama promised to spend more on the U.S. Department of Education's Arts Education Model Development and Dissemination Grants. These grants are used for arts curricula in elementary and middle schools through partnerships with private organizations that have arts expertise.

The grants fall under the umbrella of the Arts in Education initiative, which is overseen by the Office of Innovation and Improvement, with $13.7 million for the grants in 2009. As part of his 2010 budget, President Obama requested $38.2 million for Arts in Education, with $14.7 million designated for the grants -- a 7 percent increase over 2009. The rest of the money would go to a professional development program, the Very Special Arts (VSA) program, and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

On July 24, 2009, the U.S. House passed H.R. 3293, a bill that provides funding for the Department of Education for 2010. The bill contained $40.2 million for Arts in Education, a 5.2 percent increase from 2009. The Senate Appropriations Committee passed the bill on July 30, with $40 million for the initiative. The bill, however, still has to be approved by the full Senate and the two slightly different amounts have to be reconciled.

We couldn't find precise figures as to how much each chamber designated specifically for the model development and dissemination grants. Nevertheless, both the House and Senate Appropriations committees increased funding for the program that encompasses these grants. Moreover, the amount in President Obama's 2010 budget request was higher than what the program was allocated in 2009. We will wait to see the final figures, but for now, we rate this promise In the Works.

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