Expanding arts education requires accountability and teamwork, panel says – EdSource – cialisdfr
Expanding arts education requires accountability and teamwork, panel says – EdSource
Expanding arts education requires accountability and teamwork, panel says – EdSource

The release of Proposition 28, which provides $1 billion for arts education each year, has sparked confusion among districts across California as many seek to expand opportunities available to students.

Despite the obstacles, bringing arts education into schools in an equitable way is possible with the right team, according to participants in EdSource’s March 21 roundtable discussion, “Lifting the Curtain on Proposition 28: Can Arts Education Help Transform schools in California?”

“We have the funding to do great things,” said Marcos Hernandez, director of the International Studies Learning Center at Legacy High School in Los Angeles Unified. “But we all have to be engaged and we have to listen to the students.”

“The Glue That Holds Good Education Together”

When UC Irvine student and panelist Matthew Garcia-Ramirez was in middle school, his 30-minute art classes made all the difference.

As a high school student struggling with personal loss during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, Garcia-Ramirez entered the California State Summer School of the Arts, where he received advice that stuck with him: “You can remember you can learn all the fancy words you need for poetry, but what you have is something special. This is your voice.

That opportunity led Garcia-Ramirez to receive a college scholarship—and he’s not alone in experiencing the transformative impact of an arts education.

Several panelists discussed the importance of arts education — especially in a post-pandemic world — and its ability to keep students engaged.

Chronic truancy statewide, which has increased 30 percent since 2018, can be improved when students have access to arts education, according to Letty Krauss, director of the California County State Arts Initiative. Exposure is associated with improved attendance.

“It’s a 21st century learning skill. It’s so necessary, and I just think a lot of people think about arts education in an old-fashioned way,” said Malissa Ferruzzi Shriver, co-founder of Turnaround Arts: California, a nonprofit that works in elementary and middle schools across Europe. a state that emphasized the importance of viewing the arts as “applied creativity.”

“It’s a kid with a crayon or a paintbrush, or what if my kid doesn’t want to be a musician? It’s much broader and more impactful than that.”

Implementation of proposal 28

Although Proposition 28 is designed to give twice as much money to children who are in lower-income communities, the law’s implementation so far deserves a C-minus, former LAUSD Superintendent Austin Beutner said.

By law, Proposition 28 funds are specifically intended to supplement, not replace, existing funding, Beutner said.

“Some school districts are either unwilling to recognize the plain language of the law or willfully violate the law,” Beutner said. “And they’re using money to fill existing programs.”

Beutner said the California Department of Education, which is tasked with overseeing Proposition 28 funds, has been “relatively cautious on this issue.” He called on the state auditor to get more involved.

“This is the first full year and it will set a precedent,” Beutner said. “If school districts are allowed to willfully just break the law, what will happen next year or the year after that?”

Supporting Arts Programs

While some districts are confused about how to implement Proposition 28, others are working to build arts programs from the ground up.

Schools that have “disinvested in the arts over the years don’t have that expertise and need help,” said Jessica Mele, interim executive director of Create CA, which advocates for high-quality arts education for all students. “They struggle to understand what decisions to make when it comes to building an arts education program from scratch. This is where we see some injustices.

From developing strategic plans to incorporating professional development opportunities for teaching artists seeking more stability, panelists emphasized that partnerships are critical—as is the need to cultivate demand from students and families.

“Education is here for us, the students. It is here to serve us, and we have a voice at the table. So please use that voice because it’s very important,” Garcia-Ramirez said.

“Use public comment at your school district meetings; ask your basic questions; there is a place for you at the table, and if not, please make one for yourself.

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