Campaigns

Spring 2015 Arts & Culture Candidate Surveys: Pasadena Unified School District Board of Education District 6

Spring 2015 Arts & Culture Candidate Surveys: Pasadena Unified School District Board of Education District 6

Candidate order: Sandra Siraganian, Lawrence Torres

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.

Arts for LA thanks the Pasadena Arts Council for supporting the process as a local partner. 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 Pasadena Unified School District will be held on Tuesday, March 10.

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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I think the arts allow students to demonstrate competencies and skills far beyond our ability to “test.” Education has placed a premium on assessment, and the arts have always eluded our ability to create a score. Consequently, in the hierarchy of subjects, the arts are placed at the bottom of priorities. Educators know that having multiple ways for students to demonstrate abilities can only be beneficial. Students who do better in school generally like school. It is frustrating to me that many of the classes students really enjoy are deemed to be less important than “academic” subjects.

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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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A strong arts program can reinvigorate a school, allowing many more students a pathway to success. By allowing students to take a sequential program, it can deepen and enhance their learning by allowing them more time to pursue their studies. The difficulty, of course, is the budget. Many school and districts have cut funding to so many programs that it will take time to build a program, collect materials and convince families that arts will not be disappearing again. I imagine it will take several years before we begin to see the impact of a revived arts program with the schools. We must be patient and not judge a programs worth too quickly.

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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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I think a great way to make arts education more visible to parents and the community is to invite them both to become part of the project. I think a community end of year judged art fair for our district would be a great idea. Invite selected folks such as public officials or prominent citizens to become judges. I think it would be great for the children to present their best work and a wonderful way to engage the community. Perhaps the winners could have their works prominently displayed in public buildings.

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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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I believe arts education align quite well with the eight priority areas for the Local Control Funding Formula. A vibrant arts education program can bring a school community closer together, fostering school climate, student engagement and achievement. It allows students to show mastery in creative ways, going well beyond the dictates of the curriculum. It is an exciting prospect, one I hope to help advance if I am fortunate to be elected to the school board.

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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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