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

$4 million fund drive puts LAUSD arts education on center stage

Arts education

Tami Abdollah/KPCC

The LA Fund for Public Education kicked off Monday a $4 million campaign — and the largest initiative in city history — to revitalize arts education at the Los Angeles Unified School District. About a dozen city buses will feature L.A.-based artist Barbara Kruger's work produced for this effort.

LA Fund for education arts

Tami Abdollah/KPCC

The LA Fund for Public Education kicked off Monday a $4 million campaign — and the largest initiative in city history — to revitalize arts education at the Los Angeles Unified School District. About a dozen city buses will feature L.A.-based artist Barbara Kruger's work produced for this effort.

LA fund for education arts

Tami Abdollah

The LA Fund for Public Education kicked off Monday a $4 million campaign — and the largest initiative in city history — to revitalize arts education at the Los Angeles Unified School District. About a dozen city buses will feature L.A.-based artist Barbara Kruger's work produced for this effort.

Arts education

Tami Abdollah/KPCC

The LA Fund for Public Education kicked off Monday a $4 million campaign — and the largest initiative in city history — to revitalize arts education at the Los Angeles Unified School District. About a dozen city buses will feature L.A.-based artist Barbara Kruger's work produced for this effort.

arts education

Tami Abdollah/KPCC

The LA Fund for Public Education kicked off Monday a $4 million campaign — and the largest initiative in city history — to revitalize arts education at the Los Angeles Unified School District. About a dozen city buses will feature L.A.-based artist Barbara Kruger's work produced for this effort.


With song, dance and star-power tweets by Justin Bieber and Ryan Seacrest, the LA Fund for Public Education launched a $4 million campaign — and the largest initiative in city history — to revitalize arts education at the Los Angeles Unified School District.

At an event at East Los Angeles Performing Arts Academy, dozens of students along with school board member Nury Martinez danced to The Black Eyed Peas' "I Gotta Feeling" and Beyonce's "Move Your Body" to celebrate the new campaign.

"Arts Matter," with CBS Outdoor as a primary sponsor, will feature the work of L.A.-based artist Barbara Kruger on about a dozen city buses and on hundreds of billboards, bus shelters, wall postings, mall media and bulletins, LA Fund officials say.

"You can go from DreamWorks to Amgen, from Boeing to Mattel, they all say their No. 1 challenge is finding creative thinkers who can problem solve and who have the capacity and desire to learn new ways of doing things in an increasingly competitive market place," said LA Fund Chair Megan Chernin.

Read More...

Portrait in numbers of LAUSD's decline in arts education

Graffiti Artist

Grant Slater/KPCC

L.A. plans to unveil a major initiative to save public arts education. Meanwhile, L.A. Unified's school board is looking at a measure that would make arts a "core subject."

In the last three years, Los Angeles Unified has had to cut nearly $1.5 billion from its annual operating budget, which is now roughly $6 billion. "Arts education is one of the most impacted components of LAUSD instruction as a result," according to the district.

I'm still working on getting specific breakdowns on arts education funding from L.A. Unified, but in the meantime, here are some numbers the district had handy.

In 2008, L.A. Unified employed 345 art specialist teachers — the district called that year its "peak." Now there are 204 art specialist teachers for more than 580,000 students (not including those in charters).

That breaks down to about one art specialist for every 2,800 students. The district says that teachers travel from school to school to fill gaps.

Since 2008, the district has cut arts education at elementary schools by 40%.

  • The district says 53% of more than 272,000 students in kindergarten through fifth grade will not receive any arts instruction in elementary school.
  • About 75% of about 129,000 students in the sixth through eighth grades will not receive any arts instruction in middle school. The district adds that "most middle schools have no art teacher (primarily due to budget cuts)."
  • About half the district's more than 180,000 high school students will not receive any arts instruction in high school. 

Read More...

LAUSD considers making arts education a 'core subject'

Mercer 1686

Adolfo Guzman-Lopez/KPCC

LA Unified's school board is considering a measure that would make arts education a 'core subject.'

The L.A. Unified school board will vote on a measure Tuesday that would make arts education a "core subject," prohibit further cuts to the arts, and ultimately restore some money to arts programs. 

The measure, sponsored by board member Nury Martinez, would require Superintendent John Deasy to return to the board by July 1 with a plan on implementing "Arts at the Core" that includes funding strategies, ways to collect data to measure student learning through the arts, professional development for instructors, and benchmarks for success.

Arts education has found itself on the chopping block during district budget discussions as state support for it has declined in the last several years.

This measure requires a restoration of arts education funds to 2007-8 funding levels within five years. Within 10 years it aims to increase the number of arts teachers to match similar urban school districts so that each middle school can offer at least three arts disciplines. 

Read More...

UPDATED: CSU Campuses spread the word on Prop 30

Mercer 3997

csulb.edu

University library at the Cal State Long Beach campus.

California State University campuses are trying to spread the word on why voters should say “Yes” to Proposition 30 – a measure that raises taxes to prevent further state cuts to education.

Over the next week, Cal State campuses in Sacramento, Long Beach, and San Francisco are hosting nformational events detailing the potential impact of the tax initiative. Voter registration drives are also part of the effort. Some critics, including the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, charge that with actions like this the public university system is engaging in improper political advocacy.

KPCC’s Julie Small recently reported that although a slim majority favors Prop 30 – 55% of survey respondents say they support the quarter cent tax hike - pollsters say its fate is “vulnerable.”

If voters approve it, the measure would prevent a $250 million “trigger” cut to CSU’s budget that would take effect at the end of the year.

Read More...

LA County Office of Education, unions at impasse over health benefits

Challenger school

Tami Abdollah/KPCC

Teachers who work for the L.A. County Office of Education face some of the toughest classroom conditions in the county. Union officials say the county needs to value its workers by offering them a fair deal for health and welfare benefits. County officials say they have done that. The parties are at an impasse.

The Los Angeles County Office of Education and its unions have reached an impasse in negotiations over next year's healthcare benefits and are now in state mediation.

Union officials say the education office is taking advantage of their willingness to play ball over the years; they plan to voice their concerns Tuesday during public comment before the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. But county officials say an uncertain budget year and the possibility of additional new cuts make it impossible to offer more.

The L.A. County Office of Education negotiates health and welfare benefits every year with the Los Angeles County Education Assn., Service Employees International Union Local 99, and the California School Employees Assn.

For years, under an agreement with the unions, the office set aside money from workers' pay for a trust that would help offset rising healthcare costs. That trust grew to about $6 million at one point, but it's dwindled to about $630,000, said Rudy Spivery, a treasurer for the L.A. County Employees Assn.

Read More...