California Arts Council Resolution Concerning Proposed Arts Education Reductions at the Los Angeles Unified School District
Arts agency passed resolution at January 26 council meeting
On January 26, 2010, the members of the California Arts Council unanimously approved the following resolution urging the Los Angeles Unified School District to reconsider proposed cuts in visual and performing arts education funding for grades K-6. (The Director and all six members in attendance approved the resolution: Chair Malissa Feruzzi Shriver, Vice Chair William Turner, Michael Alexander, Adam Hubbard, Karen Skelton, and Susan Steinhauser. Member Charmaine Jefferson was absent.)
R E S O L V E D
That the California Arts Council supports level funding for the Los Angeles Unified School District's elementary arts instructional program for the 2010-2011 budget year. The California Arts Council recognizes the importance of quality, sequential arts education for all students in the state, and believes a drastic reduction of arts teachers could cause an immediate and lasting negative effect on the creative economy of the Los Angeles Region. The California Arts Council urges the LAUSD School Board to reconsider the proposal to eliminate 50% of the entire elementary arts instructional program, releasing 173 of the 350 arts teachers.
The California Arts Council understands the deep fiscal crisis that the District is currently facing but does not believe that the impact on student lives justifies the mere 3% cost savings. Eliminating a core program is not a solution. Arts education is a critical component of every student's complete education. Arts education has a measurable impact on at-risk youth in deterring delinquent behavior and truancy problems. In addition, studies show that students with high levels of arts learning experiences earn higher grades and score better on standardized test that those with little or no involvement in the arts, regardless of socioeconomic status.
Historically, the LAUSD School Board has expressed unanimous support of arts education by endorsing a strong arts education infrastructure within the District. The District has invested ten years recruiting, training, and supporting the arts teachers that comprise this infrastructure, which has received national accolades. If the teachers are lost, students will be denied access to a comprehensive education. It could take decades to rebuild this essential instructional foundation.
Therefore, the California Arts Council urges the LAUSD School Board to maintain LAUSD's historic commitment to quality, sequential arts education by maintaining arts teacher positions for the 2011 and 2012 fiscal years. In an era where the workforce and success in the global economy require creativity, imagination and innovation it is imperative that arts education curricula remain strong and bold. The School Board's continued support at this critical juncture is vital to providing every student in LAUSD a complete education that will prepare him or her for success in work, in our society and in life.
The Members and Director of the California Arts Council:
Malissa Feruzzi Shriver, Chair
William Turner, Vice Chair
Adam Barrett Hubbard
Charmaine Jefferson (absent from vote but intending to sign)
Muriel Johnson, Director