From an article by Leonard Garment in the November issue of Art News:

To undertake a significant expansion of arts in education means dealing realistically with a variety of systematic obstacles. A serious assimilation of arts and arts education techniques into the education process will require significant changes in curriculum, in training and in allocation of resources. ...

Rather than trying to imitate Japan, policymakers should be reminded that we are a nation characterized by creativity and freedom. The arts are a natural instrument to stimulate these characteristics for many reasons. Here are some of them.

It is through the arts that children experience their first opportunities for personal success and achievement, whether it is finger painting, or telling a story, or shaping a dance. This early experience with personal autonomy is a source of pride and personal esteem; it opens the eyes and ears and minds of children to other steps in the learning process; and it teaches values, a sense of our history and the meaning of our history. Policymakers should have no trouble understanding that a child who has not been moved early in life by a poem or a story is not likely to be deeply affected later on by the burning of books. ...

What can be done to keep this policy window of arts education open? One thought I offer is that you make use of the powerful medium of advertising, and I say this without embarrassment or apology. Advertising is one of the most important instructional forces in our culture. ...

So my suggestion in broad terms is this: Organize a national campaign to marshal broad support for arts education.