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 Los Angeles County.  The initial responses were published on today.

This year is a high stakes election cycle for California schools.  Governor Brown’s new Local Control Funding Formula will start directing more per-pupil funding to every student in the state, while the federally guided Common Core—which reiterates the arts as a core discipline—will help every school in forty-eight states establish shared benchmarks for what students should master at every point in their education.  School board members play a critical role in making or breaking educational policy in the district and shoring up community support for changes.

With workforce development at top of mind for educators throughout Los Angeles County, school board members will be pressed to ensure all students in their district develop twenty-first century the skills desired by employers in our region: creativity, communication, collaboration, and critical thinking skills.  A complete education that includes the arts is a proven and effective way to empower students to be successful in both college and the workforce; recent research compiled by Americans for the Arts indicates an education rich in the arts:

  • Reduces the drop out rate for low-income students from 22% to 4%
  • Empowers low-incomes students to graduate from college twice as often as their peers
  • Makes a student 4 times as likely to be recognized for academic achievement
  • Makes a student 3 times as likely to win an award for school attendance or be elected to class office

Voters are encouraged to visit the surveys and learn more about where each candidates stand on arts education.  If a candidate has not yet responded, Arts for LA provides contact information so voters can encourage survey completion by those candidates.  Arts for LA will publish all incoming surveys until November 5.

Arts for LA is working with the California Alliance for Arts Education and LA2050 as Regional Partners on the Fall 2013 surveys.  Several local organizations are working with us in specific communities to spur greater survey response and to encourage voters to read them.  Local partners include the Friends of Arts Education at the Cerritos Performing Arts Center, Museum of Art & History, Nuvein Foundation, PS Arts, South Pasadena Arts Council, and Whittier Art Association and Gallery. 

The surveys serve as a powerful educational tool for voters who understand the importance of arts and culture to LA’s vibrant future. In a recent survey of members, Arts for LA learned 96% of our randomly sampled respondents are registered voters.  According to the National Endowment for the Arts, “Arts participants are measurably different from non-participants—more active, more involved, and more socially engaged.” People who care about the arts are people who care about their communities.

Arts for LA has conducted candidate surveys since its incorporation as a nonprofit organization in 2006.