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Protect the NEA to Preserve Dance Education
By Susan McGreevy-Nichols
Posted on 3/16/2017 2:03 PM
UPDATE: On March 16, 2017, the Trump Administration released its proposed budget to Congress, officially recommending elimination of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), as well as the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), and the Corporation for National and Community Service (Americorps).
  • Take two minutes to email and call your two U.S. Senators and your U.S. Representative RIGHT NOW and ask them to continue bipartisan support for the National Endowment for the Arts.
  • Join us NEXT WEEK at Arts Advocacy Day to speak face-to-face with your elected Members of Congress on the importance of the NEA.

Dear NDEO Members and Supporters,


I am writing to you today about the status of federal funding for the arts in the new Administration and U.S. Congress. As you may have heard, White House sources reported that two Trump transition team advisors are recommending elimination of the National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities, and privatization of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. 

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) was established by an act of the U.S. Congress in 1965, and is "dedicated to supporting excellence in the arts, both new and established; bringing the arts to all Americans; and providing leadership in arts education.” It is an independent agency of the United States federal government that has granted over five billion dollars to arts organizations throughout its history. The annual cost to taxpayers is 46 cents per capita, and throughout much of it’s history, the NEA has enjoyed bipartisan support, largely due to the positive impact of the arts on local economies. Forty percent of NEA grant money is awarded through state arts agencies, many of whom will have difficulty continuing their work without NEA support.

The National Dance Education Organization has benefited from financial support from the NEA for over twelve years. NEA grants have been essential to the development and growth of many of our signature programs and publications. In particular, the NEA provided crucial to support the following:

  • Online Professional Development Institute (OPDI): NEA funding supported the implementation of the OPDI program and the development of several of our early courses.
  • The Dance Entry Level Teacher Assessment (DELTA) Exam: Through a grant from the NEA, NDEO designed the DELTA, an online certification exam in dance to determine base-line competencies of entry level dance teachers applying for state K-12 licensure. With this NEA support, the research and development was completed, as well as a field-testing process.
  • National Core Arts Standards in Dance Professional Development Series: The NEA provided support for programs designed to help teachers implement the 2014 National Core Arts Standards in Dance. These included two Special Topics Conferences (in Maryland and California), a series of webinars, two OPDI Courses, and a standards poster.
  • Evidence: A Report on the Impact of Dance in the K12 Setting: The research and writing of this report and the creation of the Stand Up For Dance in America’s K-12 Schools was made possible by a grant from the NEA.

In addition, the NEA has supported thousands of dance and dance education programs throughout it’s history. The grantees include non-profit community arts organization, presenting venues, university-affiliated programs, dance companies and festivals. A diverse range of programs are supported, including those centered on arts education, community engagement, and professional performance. A full listing of recent grantees by state can be found here. These programs have helped advance the field of dance education, while directly and indirectly serving students nationwide and employing dance professionals, educators, researchers, curators, and administrators. We know that many of our members have relied on funding from the NEA to help grow and sustain their own programs.

Now more than ever, we need to work together to advocate for dance on the national, state, and local levels. It is only through our joint efforts that we will be able to continue to support and advance dance education in our schools, colleges, and communities. NDEO will continue to work with our partners, including Americans for the Arts, to advocate for dance at the national level. As we have throughout our history, we will support funding for dance and dance education as a National Partner for Arts Advocacy Day. We will work with the State Education Agency Directors of Arts Education (SEADAE) and the National Coalition for Core Arts Standards to increase access to and improve the quality of dance education in K-12 schools. We will work with our State Affiliates as they address local and statewide issues related to dance education.


We are asking for your support in our advocacy efforts. Here are a few action items you can take to show yourRegister for Arts Advocacy Day support for dance education nationwide:
  • Take two minutes to email and call your two U.S. Senators and your U.S. Representative and ask them to continue bipartisan support for the National Endowment for the Arts now.
  • Register to attend National Arts Advocacy Day on March 20–21 in Washington, DC where you can add your voice in person. Let us know you’re coming!
  • Join the Arts Action Fund (for free) to receive alerts from Americans for the Arts about pressing legislative issues.
  • Join or renew your NDEO Membership to show your support for dance education by being a part of the largest dance education membership organization in the country. We are stronger together than any of us could be alone!
  • Sign this petition to ask the new Administration to support the arts.


Susan McGreevy-Nichols
NDEO Executive Director

Further reading: 2016 Arts Advocacy Day NEA Issue Brief. 2017 edition will be available in February.

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