@MomCares - H. Ross Perot spearheaded the drive for House Bill 72 in 1984, which resulted in the famous "No Pass, No Play" rule and general educational reform in Texas (HB 72 is credited with inspiring the "No Child Left Behind" policy of G.W. Bush). Perot stated his intent was to end situations like, "...little schools with sixty teachers and twelve coaches. When a principal objected that such a situation was “rare,” Perot retorted, “So is a one-legged tap-dancer, but it happens.”" The bill mandated 1 Fine Arts credit as a graduation requirement which did result in an expansion of fine arts funding in the state.
An interesting article on Perot's fight for HB 72 can be found here: Bill Hobby on the 1984 Education Reform Battle — Texas Legislature | The Texas Tribune
In 2009, Texas House Bill 3 included the following provisions to support fine arts education:
• One-credit high school fine arts graduation requirement retained
• New middle school fine arts requirement created
• High school students get six electives (which results in more fine arts courses)
• Fine arts included in "distinction tier" opportunity (schools get more recognition through fine arts, which can result in teacher and administrator bonus pay)
This helped reinforce programs like the one my daughter participated in during Middle School, where her school offered not only classes in Theatre, Choir and Dance, they leveled the curriculum so that Audition-only Advanced classes were offered in all three. They also added nice touches like putting all the Advanced Theatre kids in the same homeroom (now called "Advocacy"), so they got extra time together and the Theatre teacher could use the exta time to help keep them focused on passing all subjects (I have since discovered through CC that this actually mimics college-level BFA programs). I didn't fully realize the advantages she was offered until she went through the audition process for MT at the performing arts high school. Reading posts on this site have also made me really appreciate the "leg up" that our school district has provided down to the Middle School level. There are actually some theatre magnet programs at the elementary level in town, but she did not attend one of those schools.
Talent is the ultimate currency in MT, but, as I have found by reading this site, it sure helps if you understand the system and have a solid educational foundation and experience focused on the "next step," not just on "doing shows." We wrote as big a check as we could for her school when we figured out the level of benefits that she was being offered. Despite coming from an MT-familiar family (my brother is a professional composer/arranger and my sister is a Speech and Drama teacher) where we all did high school musicals and sang in college choir, I had no idea how intricate and competitive the MT BFA process has become.