Update on LAUSD Arts Education

Mon, 03/12/2012 (All day)

LAUSD arts education advocacyOn March 13th, the Los Angeles Unified School (LAUSD) Board will be voting on an updated fiscal stabilization plan.  This draft plan, released today by the Daily News, still includes a worst-case scenario that includes total elimination of elementary arts.

Cutting the elementary music program will result in the loss of instruction to 180,000 students; cutting the theatre, visual and dance programs will result in 72,500 students losing instruction. 

The LAUSD Arts Education branch has been cut by over 70% in the past three years. The total elimination of the elementary arts program would close the 133-year elementary music program and the 13-year-old elementary dance, theatre and visual arts programs. 

If these programs are eliminated, the responsibility for arts instruction, which is considered core curriculum by the state and federal governments, will fall entirely on classroom teachers.

The cuts will further exacerbate the inequality of arts education access districtwide. Private funds (such as those raised by PTAs) are currently used to bring in arts instruction but lower income communities do not have the same access to private funds as wealthier communities. This results in wealthier neighborhoods subsidizing arts instruction and lower-income neighborhoods going without those programs.

Diana del Pozo Mora, a Boyle Heights mother and activist, likens the cuts to “closing the door” on a student’s opportunity to receive a complete education.  “The kids are knocking for more arts opportunities, but it seems like the district is not answering," says Mora.  "The arts tap into both sides of the brain; any education that activates all parts of the brain is ideal.”

For past coverage of this issue, please click here.