Guest Post: In Los Angeles, Art is Made a ‘Core Subject’

A guest post from a MASSCreative volunteer, Daniela Jacobson, and her take on recent arts education initiatives around the nation.

In education policy circles, STEM is an acronym that is shorthand for science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Isn’t it time to add an “A” (for the arts) and create STEAM? 

At the MASSCreative kick-off in Somerville last month, I was thrilled to hear that MASSCreative is proposing one year of high school arts education as an admission requirement to the Massachusetts state university system, while ensuring access for students from low income communities. Shortly after the event, I heard about recent changes in Los Angeles' public school requirements that added art as a focus. This is encouraging news for arts advocates and connects with MASSCreative’s vision for arts education in Massachusetts. 

While states across the U.S. battle to regain funding for education, the Los Angeles Unified school board recently put a stake in the ground to restore and protect arts education in its district. On October 10, 2012, the board members unanimously approved a resolution to make art a “core subject.” This proposal not only integrates art as an essential part of students’ curriculum, but it also aims to protect arts education from further budget cuts and lays the groundwork for restoring arts funding within five years. 

Steven McCarthy, L.A. Unified senior arts coordinator, states that this measure "changes the course of history" by using the word "core". According to McCarthy, "The use of the term 'core' says that every child will be entitled to it, and when you use the word 'core,' there’s a financial expectation attached to it…So when cuts are made, now that the arts are core, cuts will need to be spread across all the disciplines. Now the arts can be seen as important as social studies, science, math and language arts."

As an arts advocate (and former student theater director, actor, dancer, and photographer in high school), I am compelled by MASSCreative’s proposal and L.A.’s recent action. I believe these policies will help build a case to solidify the arts as an important academic discipline that is necessary for student’s personal growth and achievement.

We can all look to L.A. as a pioneer in this endeavor. As a MASSCreative volunteer, I’m excited to work toward strengthening arts education curriculum in Massachusetts. Will you join us?

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Showing 3 reactions

commented 2013-10-14 04:19:39 -0400 · Flag
Good job with the post!! It is useful and informative!
@Arts4LA tweeted link to this page. 2012-11-26 16:50:18 -0500
#Arts advocates in Massachusetts emboldened by @LASchools's "Arts at the Core" move: #artsed #artsadvoc
@ mentioned @MASSCreative link to this page. 2012-11-16 11:40:26 -0500
New blog post from @MASSCreative volunteer/guest blogger Daniela Jacobson #artsed

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