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LA Unified Launches 5-Year Plan to Save Arts Education

Brianna Sacks | July 18, 2013

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Kids in art class/creative commons

Kids in art class/creative commons

Arts education is making a comeback in LA Unified classrooms thanks to a new, five-year plan unveiled today by the LAUSD Arts Education Branch.

The report, known as “The Arts Education and Cultural Network Plan:  2012-2017,”  promises to infuse core curriculum with artistic elements.

“Arts education at the LAUSD was decimated during the recent budget crisis,” Dr. Steven McCarthy, who heads the District’s Arts Education Branch, said in a press release.  “But with the passage of Proposition 30 and an improving economy, we are now in position to implement significant changes in the teaching of dance, music, theater and visual arts to our students.”

This summer, more than 200 K-through-12 LAUSD teachers from all subject areas  attended arts integration development sessions, which guided arts and non-arts teachers on how to integrate dance, music, theater and visual arts into basic subjects like math, science and language arts.

Arts-depleted classrooms are also getting help from a three-year, $750,000 grant by the LA Fund, which recently announced that the first grant of $150,000 to the Music Center will train 20 teachers on how to bring arts into core academic classrooms at five LA middle schools,

Although the District is recovering from years of severe budget cuts, the arts program may  take years to recover, having lost almost 50 percent of its funding since 2008.

In 2011 there were 250 arts teachers, reports LAUSD, and in 2012,  there were only 216 elementary arts teachers to serve all the District’s elementary schools and primary centers.

By graduation, the average student in LAUSD will have spent 2 percent or less time learning any arts education. To remedy this deficit, the district promises to raise the level of funding over the first three years of the program, as well as increase the number of arts pilot schools, magnets, academies, and new Grade 6-12 designated arts hubs.

In a city rife with museums, concert venues and other cultural institutions,  students should be able to collaborate with some of the 11,235 arts venues scattered across LA, says the report.

Thanks to new funding, the district plans to create partnerships and online arts education lessons with various universities, museums, theaters, art galleries, parks and film schools.

Read the whole report here

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