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