Campaigns

Spring 2015 Arts & Culture Candidate Surveys: Los Angeles Unified School Board District 7

Spring 2015 Arts & Culture Candidate Surveys: Los Angeles Unified School Board District 7

Candidate order: Euna Anderson, Lydia Gutierrez, Richard Vladovic

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 7 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)

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Having been raised in an artistic family, starting with my mother, 9 siblings and myself being artistically inclined. I lean heavily on the creativity in my teaching style in the classroom. A child who has been introduced to the artistic talents, combined with the other subjects, creates a well-rounded individual.

As a child, I loved to read, from the classics like The Wind in the Willows and Tom Sawyer, to science fiction, to newspapers and magazines. Reading fed my curiosity, shaped my mind, and helped me to understand my world. There is no doubt that it led to my life’s work as an educator and school administrator. Today, as a Board Member, one of my greatest thrills is exposing young kids to the joys that reading can bring.

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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)

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As an educational instructor, we must nurture the creative side of all our students in order for them to fully develop both sides of their mind. I am a supporter of STEAM: Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics. When children have been given more hands on opportunity, which visual & performing arts offers, they take ownership on where they want to direct their life and that means staying in school to work towards their goal.

Encouraging creativity isn’t a privilege or “free time” activity. It is a vital piece of students’ education and growth as individuals. It’s what allows our students to explore and develop their views of the world. Creativity – whether through a student’s personal expression or through teaching methodologies – is what will keep our students engaged in their education, making them less likely to drop out and more likely to achieve academically, increasing graduation rates and college eligibility. Creativity will also inspire innovative and entrepreneurial qualities in our students, preparing them for the global economy.

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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)

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A pre-kinder to high school approach of assuring that sequential arts education is actively involved in all aspects of our children’s lives is vital in the development of child’s emotional balance and academic success. The down fall is that teachers may believe that preparing for standardized testing is far better use of time then having them learn to be expressive through art. This is far from the truth. If teachers and children are constantly preparing for the test, children develop no real foundation of academics; they become stressed and more likely to do poorly on standardized tests. Arts are what gives more depth of understanding, relieves stress allowing the child to retain and manipulate the information, and more opportunity for a creative approach.

There are very few weaknesses to this plan, besides perhaps some additional costs that will have to be managed as part of the budget. The benefits far outweigh the costs of this initiative, however. Arts education has a deep and formative impact on our children. It will engage them creatively and will also encourage them to use new methods of thought and expression. These shifts in thinking will help them to become well-rounded and more self-aware individuals, who will graduate better prepared for college or a career and better able to contribute to society.

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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)

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To make LAUSD arts education plan more visible, first update the website. At present, there are two links that are closed. Make available weekly lessons by grade level for teachers to use in the classroom. The best way to educate parents is for their children to actually be engaged in art activity and bring them home. On the website can be additional art activities parents can do at home with their children. Ask community businesses to allow children’s artwork to be showcased in their business, i.e., bank, real estate office, store.

It’s important to keep parents and local leaders informed about the importance of arts education, as well as what the Board is doing to keep the plan moving forward. To that end, I will continue to engage with my district at local meetings, community events, and within the schools. On my website, I also provide information about what is currently happening in our district and individual schools. I also regularly put out a newsletter with new and timely information for parents and community leaders, and I will be sure to include any new developments about the arts education plan.

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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)

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Art Education is fully aligned in all 8 items because you cannot subtract out visual concepts, motor movement or self-expression from learning.

Arts education can and should align very closely with each of the new priority areas. Within our schools, it is important to keep incorporating the arts into the curriculum of our students, because it’s well-known that engaged and creative students are less likely to drop out and more likely to achieve academically. As Board Members, it’s our job to continue to promote arts education as being a vital part of the overall education of Los Angeles students and to ensure that the arts aren’t being overlooked as we meet the new priority areas.

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