Arts for LA Releases School Board Arts & Culture Candidate Surveys

Arts for LA Releases School Board Arts & Culture Candidate Surveys

Fri, 10/11/2013 - 10:03am

Photo: ArtsVoteLAWith an estimated $5.3 billion in educational funding set to invigorate California’s schools due to Proposition 30, school board leaders will be tasked with setting the priorities and direction for their schools’ future.  To help spark dialogue around arts and education issues, Arts for LA has distributed Arts & Culture Candidate Surveys to every eligible candidate for election in 33 school district races throughout Lo

Fall 2013 Arts & Culture Candidate Surveys: ABC Unified School District

Fall 2013 Arts & Culture Candidate Surveys: ABC Unified School District

As part of its work to connect voters and candidates, Arts for LA presents these Arts & Culture Candidate Surveys to promote dialogue around issues related to arts education and its benefits.

Survey responses provided by each candidate are for voter information purposes only. Arts for LA does not endorse candidates seeking office. We are committed to fostering respectful, nonpartisan dialogue about issues relating to arts and culture. For more information, please read about our mission and values or our FAQ.

All eligible candidates were contacted to participate in the survey. If you would like to submit new or revise existing responses, please contact Arts for LA at advocate@artsforla.org or 213-225-7580.

Arts for LA thanks the Friends of Arts Education at the Cerritos Performing Arts Center for their partnership in collecting and distributing these survey results. The California Alliance for Arts Education and LA2050 served as Regional Partners by promoting Arts & Culture Candidate Surveys throughout Los Angeles County.

Elections for ABC Unified School District will be held on Tuesday, November 5.

3 seats are available in this election. Elections are at large; voters may vote for any of the eligible candidates in this election.

For more information on where to vote, visit the Los Angeles County Clerk/Registrar-Recorder’s Office website.

If a candidate has not yet responded, please click on the candidate's name below to invite the candidate via email to participate.

Candidate order: Olympia Chen, Daniel Fierro, Lynda Johnson, Ethan L. Robinson, Soo Y. Yoo

Question 1: Tell us about a meaningful experience you had with art (visual, dance, drama, music) while growing up?

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I have always been a bit of a “ham”, for lack of a better term. Dancing and singing have been an integral part of my entire life. While matriculating at Gonsalves Elementary School, one of my teachers, Mr. Larry Hutchens, formed the Los Cerritos Boys Choir. I was fortunate enough to be selected as a member, and it changed my life. While rehearsals were rigorous, singing at malls during the holiday season, or the National Anthem at Major League Baseball stadiums, or many other large scale venues was a phenomenal experience in my life. Probably the biggest was our performance of the musical “Oliver” on Catalina Island over the course of multiple days, a vivid memory that stays with me even to this day.

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Question 2: What role do you think creativity can play in supporting key priorities of the district, such as reducing the dropout rate, closing the achievement gap, and preparing more students for college eligibility and/or meaningful careers?

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As a father of children that perform in many community events from the Martin Luther King Day and 4th of July Celebration, as well as resident talent shows in the City of Cerritos, I have seen a “truism” of sorts confirmed. People gravitate toward and work hard at what they are passionate about, and the performing arts can be a lightening rod for that passion. The arts may just be the only motivation for matriculation for either “at risk” or “on the fringe” students. By encouraging someone to find and follow their passion vis-à-vis the arts, it may become the difference in a person’s social, educational and professional life.

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Question 3: Your district has embarked on an initiative to restore meaningful sequential arts education into its core curriculum. What do you feel are the strengths and weaknesses of the plan?

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I have attended enumerable events at the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts with my children in conjunction with their academic curriculum. In addition, my children always look forward to dressing-up for field trips there with their classmates, and their enthusiasm for the variety of performances they experience over a school year is almost palpable. Excitement for school activities increases the excitement to learn. If I had to state a “weakness”, it would be my children want to experience even more performing arts events throughout the year, albeit I doubt if that is an actual weakness. I believe ABCUSD’s support for the arts in education is a major factor in the District’s ongoing success.

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Question 4: How can your district make your arts education plan and its progress on the plan more visible to parents and leaders in your community?

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The most direct pathway to parents, and community leaders that influence, and are influenced by parents, is through the children themselves. Parents, in the end, are “softies” when it comes to their children. So the more the District encourages students to share their excitement, enthusiasm and interest in the arts they experience through education with their parents, the more parental support will grow. Increased parental interest, by default, will result in increased community leader involvement to support those endeavors that the students desire most. If the children are the messengers, parents and community leaders will ultimately take heed to their message, thus increasing their interest in the arts as well.

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Question 5: In light of the new funding structure for school districts in the state (i.e. the Local Control Funding Formula), how do you see arts education aligning with the eight new priority areas?

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The LCFF should empower the District to directly allocate more funds for arts in education because there is a compulsory involvement of parents as part of the directives of the new system. Taking the power from the State to control these local funds, in conjunction with the systematic increase in funds and mandatory Local Control Accountability Plan mandates for parental advisory committees, the goal of ensuring the best interest of all students (especially the underserved and under-represented) will be better served. Bringing the decision making closer to the actual people directly impacted will improve accountability, transparency and input for increased distribution of resources through the arts. Now that the impacted community can increase their input regarding distribution of funds at a local level, the arts may also experience an increased allocation of funding.

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Arts for All and Arts for LA Announce Arts Education Support for LA County School Districts

Arts for All and Arts for LA Announce Arts Education Support for LA County School Districts

Mon, 11/26/2012 - 2:15pm

Photo: map of Arts for All and Arts for LA's current districtsArts for All, Los Angeles County’s collaborative effort to ensure curriculum in all public schools includes the arts, recently announced that four new districts and one charter school group have joined the initiative. Of the eighty-one school districts in the county, fifty-four are now part of Arts for All.