Arts Ed in LAUSD: Movement or Lose It

Last month I attended a plan-of-action meeting addressing the proposed devastating cuts to elementary art and music programs for LAUSD's 2010-11 arts education branch budget. The proposed cuts will eliminate 50% of elementary arts teacher positions, equaling roughly 173 of 345 teachers.  If enacted, these cuts will decimate arts education in LAUSD.

The meeting was co-hosted by the Los Angeles Secondary Music Teachers Association, the UTLA Elementary Arts Steering Committee, and Parents for Arts Education, a newly formed community advocacy group.

A brief background of
Arts Education in LAUSD:


  • Blue Ribbon Committee is formed
  • 3-Legged Stool Philosophy is developed
    • Arts and Music Specialists (credentialed)
    • Arts Integration/Teacher Professional Development
    • Arts Community Partnerships



  • State of California Block Grant Funding


  • Fiscal Crisis; ACPN Dismantled

Despite the dismal circumstances, I couldn't help but feel inspired by the huge turnout, roughly 200 attendees by my estimation.  After a briefing on District layoff procedures and seniority, we broke out into smaller groups and brainstormed ideas for how to make our case for preserving these positions.

Since that meeting, Arts for LA has formed a partnership with the UTLA Elementary Arts Steering Committe, Parents for Arts Education and many of you to address this crisis.  Our goal is to mobilize parents, students, teachers, arts organizations, and any other LAUSD stakeholders to generate 700 letters to LAUSD School Board members over the next 30 days.  Within a day of launching the campaign, we're seeing a terrific response! 

In this campaign, every voice is important.  If you live, work, go to school, or went to school in LAUSD, take 2 minutes to show your support.

You can...

Together we can make a big difference and stand up for the quality education that the students of LAUSD and all of LA County deserve.

Thank you for being a part of this historic effort!


How to bandage a cut!

Thank you, Tara, for these provocative questions. I think you are right. We all see that there need to be cuts right now and that we want to keep a positive campaign about how we argue for "reasonable" cuts in the arts. But I am also thinking further down the road (which is dangerous). Will schools and administrators get used to a "new normal" with a lower degree of arts instruction and how likely will it be that those services will spring back when the economy turns? It makes me wonder. We all want to minimize the hurt in the present, but I think we also need to keep the advocay pretty constant in a way that won't allow anyone to forget the impact of the arts and allow them to be relegated to "enrichment" activities.

Maintaining the Integrity of LAUSD’s Arts Programs

A little bit more about how the Elementary Arts Program works:

As an itinerant elementary dance teacher, I currently travel to 8 different elementary schools, and over the course of the year, I will reach at least 2,000 students and possibly as many as 4,000 students (and even more at year round schools!). As a high school theatre teacher, I served at most 500 students and an average of 400. With salary and benefits, each FTE (Full Time Equivalent) Itinerant Elementary Arts Teacher is budgeted at $81,436.00. Many teachers earn far less than that, and a few make a little bit more. To keep me employed as a high school theatre teacher, the District spent about $200.00 per pupil I was servicing. Yet as an elementary teacher, reaching 4,000 students per year, the cost to the District is ONLY about $20.00 per student! Ten times less! A meager price to pay to ensure that every child K-5 has the opportunity of a comprehensive education, including arts education.

Petition to Maintain the Integrity of LAUSD’s Arts Progra

Thank you Arts for LA! Thanks Tara and Danielle for attending the Forum, for supporting us, and for getting the word out!

I am the Chair of the UTLA Elementary Arts Teacher's Steering Committee. We are working collaboratively to save our Arts Programs for the benefit of every child in LAUSD. Please read and sign our petition, write a letter, make a call! Our voices matter! Thank you, Ginger Fox

Petition to Maintain the Integrity of LAUSD’s Arts Instructional Programs

Interested in collecting signatures on paper? A PDF of the petition packet to be printed out may be downloaded at:

Deadline: Please return completed petition packets to Michael Blasi PO BOX 292337 LA CA 90029 by January 20, 2010.

More information, advocacy links and materials can be found at: