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New education report recommends expanded tracking of arts in the schools



File photo: Alfred Ladzekpo, right, teaches an African music and dance class during the California State Summer School for the Arts program at CalArts.
File photo: Alfred Ladzekpo, right, teaches an African music and dance class during the California State Summer School for the Arts program at CalArts.
Maya Sugarman/KPCC

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A statewide coalition issued a new blueprint for arts education in California Thursday that calls for broad changes in arts instruction, including a report card to measure access to the arts in California school districts.

The plan, called "A Blueprint for Creative Schools," was released by the coalition CREATE CA. The blueprint took more than two years to develop and represents the work of a task force made up of more than 60 members, with contributions from dozens more. 

"This is a rally cry. The blueprint helps provide a roadmap [for arts education]," said Craig Watson, a task force member and director of the California Arts Council.

The new plan will be discussed Friday and Saturday at a gathering of hundreds in Oakland focused on implementing the blueprint and building support for adoption of its recommendations. 

The blueprint follows an earlier report called "The Joint Arts Education Task Force Report: How the Arts and Creative Education Can Transform California's Classrooms."

Watson said the new blueprint is an update that reflects a change in the state's education funding process known as the local control funding formula. The formula is designed to funnel more money to schools with low-income students, foster youth and English learners.  

The blueprint cites data showing that only 27 percent of low-income students are enrolled in visual and performing arts courses.

As KPCC has found, data on arts education access is often hard to come by and many schools across the region do not offer comprehensive arts access. 

Among the report's other recommendations:

• Restore theater and dance credentials for teachers (currently the state offers separate credentials for music and visual arts, but lumps theater and dance into physical education and English credentials).

• Create a statewide survey for assessing arts access that would be available to the public.

• Develop a "grade-appropriate" assessment method to evaluate student skill levels.