February 06, 2012
Budget cuts are nothing new to us in this economy, and cutbacks in arts education have been an issue for decades now. It’s been great to see that the Los Angeles Unified School District has been making a concerted effort to provide a “nationally recognized Elementary Arts Program” and a curriculum that “fundamentally improve[s] student achievement in literacy and numeracy.” Their Arts Education Plan even includes the following phrase: “Based on research that demonstrates that the arts are fundamental to a child’s cognitive growth and academic career, Pre-K through Grade 12, every child deserves access to a quality arts education.”
However, the news broke late last week that the Los Angeles Unified School District has proposed TOTAL ELIMINATION OF ITS ELEMENTARY SCHOOL ARTS EDUCATION PROGRAM.
How can this be? Well, LAUSD is currently suffering from a deficit of more than $600 million, and the Elementary Arts Program is not the only thing to go. It’s certainly nothing new that the local, state and federal funding of public education is an uphill battle, but the concern today is that once programs like these are eliminated, it can take years to add them back (and there’s no guarantee that they WILL come back).
In response, Arts for LA is calling for public action: “Arts for LA opposes this drastic measure and urges parents, students, arts advocates to take action by sending a letter to your school board member and sharing the alert with your networks.” They’ve made it easy to make your opinion heard: just click here to send a pre-written email to your School Board member and Superintendent John Deasy. It only takes 5 minutes, but can help preserve arts education for nearly 300,000 LAUSD elementary school students.
This also means that programs like LACO’s Meet the Music program, which serves approximately 2,600 Los Angeles and Pasadena Unified School District 4th- through 6th-grade students each year, is more essential now than ever. This free program introduces students to the wonder and excitement of a live classical music concert – click here to learn more about Meet the Music.
On a personal note, I wanted to say that I am a proud graduate of a public school system where I was given every opportunity to participate in the arts. We are all in position to advocate for those who may not be given the same opportunities we had, and let’s help give the students of Los Angeles every chance at success. Again, I hope you will take a minute to write to the LAUSD School Board and help keep music in the schools.