In the News

California students are losers when it comes to arts. Voters can change that

Nicholas Goldberg
L.A. Times


It’s hard to imagine anyone anywhere who doesn’t think, all things being equal, that we should spend substantially more money educating students in music and the arts.

Not only does arts education open up a world of culture, creativity, beauty and imagination, but repeated studies have shown, more prosaically, that it leads to improvements in students’ critical thinking, to more empathy and less intolerance, and to stronger memory and attention. It’s not an add-on for dilettantes. In school, it leads to reductions in disciplinary infractions, improved attendance and higher college aspirations, among other things.

Yet only 22% of California public schools — barely one in five — have a full-time arts or music teacher (compared with 72% in New York City), advocates say.

The simple truth, as one school superintendent put it, is that “in tough times … the first things to go are the arts programs.” They’re easier to cut than reading, math or science, and the money doesn’t necessarily rematerialize when the crisis ends. Around the country, arts education has been declining for three decades, says the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

That’s unconscionable.

And it’s why Californians should vote yes on Proposition 28, a measure on the November ballot to ensure dedicated funding for arts and music education in the state budget.

. . . . 

Proposed by former L.A. Unified School District Supt. (and former Los Angeles Times publisher) Austin Beutner, Proposition 28 is backed by a broad range of groups, including the LAUSD Board of Education, the California Teachers Assn., the state PTA and the L.A. County Business Federation.

. . . .

Read the complete column online at the L.A.Times.

The Commission on the Arts makes the case for arts education.
View full story: L.A. Times



Commission on the Arts

John A. Lithgow, Deborah F. Rutter, and Natasha D. Trethewey