So Cal education, LAUSD, the Cal States and the UCs

LA County school board candidates weigh in on arts education

Generic Drawing Photo

Maya Sugarman/KPCC

Students participate in a figure drawing class during the four-week California State Summer School for the Arts program at Cal Arts.

Voters in Los Angeles County will get to vote next month on school board races for dozens of districts.

The nonprofit Arts for LA wants to get arts education on the minds of voters and school board candidates. On Wednesday, it released results of its Arts and Culture Candidate Survey.

"We want to educate voters on where these candidates stand on issues related to arts education," said Charlie Jensen, development and communications manager for Arts for LA.

So far, only about 20 candidates have responded to the non-partisan survey. Arts for LA targeted 33 school board races in districts that either have a district-wide arts plan in place or are in the process of implementing a plan.

Geographically, they cover all the way from Palmdale Unified School District to Hermosa Beach City School District. The county-wide elections are Nov. 5.

"The goal is to help increase voter turnout in L.A. county, which is notoriously low every year," Jensen said. "How we educate our children affects everyone."

Records show turnout for Los Angeles Unified's open school board seats in the city's March primaries was less than 20 percent.

In a statement, Arts for LA cited research from Americans for the Arts saying that arts education:

  • 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 interested in encouraging candidates to complete the survey can visit Arts for LA's website for instructions on how to do so. The organization will continue to publish candidate responses until Nov. 5.

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