Campaigns

Spring 2015 Arts & Culture Candidate Surveys: Los Angeles Unified School Board District 1

Spring 2015 Arts & Culture Candidate Surveys: Los Angeles Unified School Board District 1

Candidate order: George McKenna

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 Cristina Pacheco at advocate@artsforla.org or 213-225-7580.

The Actors Fund, KCET Artbound, California Alliance for Arts Education, LA2050, LA STAGE Alliance, Latino Arts Network, Otis College of Art and Design, and the Social & Public Art Resource Center (SPARC) served as Regional Partners by promoting Arts & Culture Candidate Surveys throughout Los Angeles County.

Voting for Los Angeles Unified School Board District 1 will be held on Tuesday, March 3.

1 seat is 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.

Question 1: Tell us about a meaningful experience you had with art (visual, dance, drama, music) while growing up? (Approximately 75-100 words)

As a child I was a violinist and played in several orchestras including the Xavier University concert orchestra while I was still in elementary school. I also attended numerous classical operas and plays presented by the University. I have enjoyed all forms of music and was exposed to various musical genres in the New Orleans cultural community. As a high school student, I participated in the drama club and performed in several productions as a primary character. I am a self-taught piano player who currently enjoys playing for myself. My appreciation for the arts has been lifelong.

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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 drop out rate, closing the achievement gap, and preparing more students for college eligibility and/or meaningful careers? (Approximately 75-100 words)

Many students who struggle with academic achievement come to school for the arts and sports. It is the art teachers’ and coaches’ classes where they find ways to participate successfully. I remember as a principal kids that would ditch other classes but show up for their art class. We know how the arts enrich the lives of our children and practicing the arts builds talent, confidence and cultural enrichment. The arts strengthen our children’s academic achievement and they gain not only an appreciation of arts but for learning as well.

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Question 3: Los Angeles USD district has embarked on an initiative to restore meaningful sequential arts education into its core curriculum. What do you feel are the strengths and the weaknesses of the plan? (Approximately 75-100 words)

The District needs to be applauded for embarking on an initiative to restore the arts. In the global workforce, creativity, innovation and competitiveness will be abilities that are greatly sought after. Including visual and performing arts as part of our P-12 core curriculum will ensure our students have the knowledge and experience that an art essential component brings to teaching and learning. It will help our students think unconventionally and use their imaginations in life and the workforce.

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Question 4: How can your district make the Los Angeles USD arts education plan, and its progress on the plan, more visible to parents and leaders in your community? (Approximately 75-100 words)

Collaborating with parents and the community will be essential. It takes a village means that the museums, performing arts venues, the music and motion picture industry and civil and other leaders should all be part of the planning. There are many opportunities for communities to come together and share in the development and the experiences that the arts bring to a school, neighborhood, and city.

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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? (Approximately 75-100)

There is a direct connection between art education and the priority areas for funding. Art education inclusion can enhance the quality of the LCAP plan with the expectation that the programs and services provided under the new funding include curriculums that increase students’ engagement and achievement.

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