Teaching Credentials for Theatre and Dance has been an issue that has burned in the hearts and minds of arts education advocates since 1970, when these single credentials were eliminated by the Ryan Act. Since then, teachers could only teach dance after obtaining a credential in Physical Education, and an English credential to teach theatre. Since then legislative efforts to create these credentials have been vetoed by the governor twice.
Earlier this year, Senator Ben Allen (D-Los Angeles), chair of the Joint Committee on the Arts, decided to take up the issue and introduced Senate Bill 916, the Theatre and Dance Act (TADA!). This effort picked up many vocal allies along the way, including actress Annette Bening, who testified on behalf of the bill in the Senate Education Committee. SB 916 made it through both houses of the legislature without a negative vote, supported by the California Teachers Association, California Federation of Teachers, and a multitude of organizations and individuals across the state, including 750 advocates who responded to the Alliance’s advocacy campaign and sent letters to Governor Brown in support of the bill!
On September 26, 2016, Governor Jerry Brown corrected the longstanding injustice in California’s arts education delivery system, and set the course for a brighter future for California’s students by signing SB 916 (Allen) into law, legislation that will establish single-subject teaching credentials in dance and theatre.
Congratulations to California’s teachers and students of the Arts. We look forward to your next production at our local schools.
For further information, please visit California Alliance for Arts Education.