All Politics Is Local: the Importance of School Board Elections

Photo: Campaign Survey ProjectAround this time of year, when the airwaves are filled with ads for ballot measures, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and a little cynical. And yet there are local elections underway, like those for school board that will have an important impact on our kids, schools and community.

In recent years, our schools have taken a big hit – and things like arts programs have been disappearing at an alarming rate. According to the Legislative Analyst’s Office, 60% of school districts surveyed have cut arts programs and another 20% have eliminated them altogether. Local school board members make those decisions. So where do the candidates running for school board in Los Angeles County stand on arts education?

Visit the Candidate Survey Project to find out. Local advocates here in Los Angeles County have joined this statewide initiative launched by the California Alliance for Arts Education, which asks candidates to respond to four questions about policy and funding as well as their personal experience with the arts. It will take about ten minutes to read the survey and give us a chance to identify and elect candidates who will stand up for arts education in our schools.

Research shows that student involvement in the arts is linked to

1. Higher academic performance
2. Increased standardized test scores
3. Greater involvement in community service
4. Lower drop out rates
5. Arts education fosters critical thinking, problem solving, collaboration and innovation.

We have a unique opportunity this election. Read the survey, share the survey and vote to make a difference this November 6.

Photo: Joe LandonPrior to joining the Alliance staff in 2006, Joe Landon worked for four years as a senior consultant for Assemblymember Wilma Chan, focusing on early childhood education and health issues. Prior to that he worked as a principal consultant and speechwriter for Assembly Speaker Emeritus Robert Hertzberg. Landon has also worked in Los Angeles, writing for television. Highlights include the movie, The Comeback Kid, starring John Ritter, and being nominated for an Ace award for the series-ending script for The Paper Chase television series. As a playwright/composer, Landon has had his plays and musicals produced by the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco, the Manhattan Theater Club in New York, and most recently by the Z Space Theater in San Francisco.


Research cited is from: Involvement in the Arts and Success in Secondary School. By James S. Catterall, (1997). UCLA Imagination Project, Graduate School of Education and Information Studies, UCLA. Americans for the Arts. You can view the study at: