Thanks to the support of all who called their state representatives and senators, the fine arts amendments to the Texas education bill were retained after the conference committee completed its work on May 31. Only the governor’s signature remains now. Without Sen. Florence Shapiro’s amendments, the fine arts in Texas would have been dealt a severe blow, and a message would have been sent to students that the arts are “frills” and not essential to a well-rounded education. Thanks to the rallying of arts organizations, parents, teachers, and concerned citizens, the Shapiro amendment survived. In addition to requiring fine arts credit in both high school and middle school, a campus will be able to aspire for a Fine Arts recognition of distinction (based on criteria to be determined), allowing for local communities and parents to push for excellence in arts education.
We have a strong tradition of the arts in Texas and in our schools, and the message got to the Texas legislature loud and clear. That unison message was “Don’t mess with Texas Fine Arts!”