Letters to the Daily News | 9 October 2009
The Los Angeles Unified School District's Board of Education has shown unprecedented support for arts education in our schools over the past decade. LAUSD is in the final year of its first 10-year Arts Education Plan for arts implementation. Teams of dance, theater and visual arts teachers are now in all elementary schools, augmenting the music programs already in place. Despite historic cuts, the district has protected every single elementary arts teacher position.
This year LAUSD is planning for its next 10 years of arts implementation. The articulation of a seamless pathway for students in all four art forms, pre-K through 12th grade, will be a top priority of the plan. We are confident that the arts will be part of the solution in education, for student achievement and for school culture and morale.
- ROBIN LITHGOW
The letter writer is administrative coordinator for LAUSD's Arts Education Branch
●●smf's 2¢: LAUSD’s 10-year Arts Education Plan for arts implementation is truly commendable – indeed it has been awarded prizes and used as a model for what art programs can and should be in other places.
However it has been slashed and reduced. This last year has not been as planned and visioned – not because the Board of Ed and/or the superintendent don’t ‘get it’ …but because the money isn’t there.
The letter writer says
- Teams of dance, theater and visual arts teachers are now in all elementary schools, augmenting the music programs already in place.
- Despite historic cuts, the district has protected every single elementary arts teacher position.
- What isn’t mentioned is secondary programs or arts teacher positions in secondary schools.
- Or program supplies or support. Those budgets have been slashed to the bone …or eliminated.
- Or support from the folks who wrote, rolled out and implemented the Arts Education Plan. Those folks have all gone in other directions. Their positions, funding, and contracts have not been renewed, outright eliminated, or they have been reassigned to other duties.
- Whether any of this is due to budget cuts, decentralization or ‘rightsizing’ doesn’t matter – Arts and Music Programs is LAUSD are currently inadequate.
I can guarantee any-and-everyone that the visionary ten year Arts and Music Education Plan did not include the program and budget cuts it has recently endured. As a supporter-of and advocate-for arts and music education in our schools I applaud the work of those still working at it (including the letter writer) ….but I resent the implication that all is well and good in Arts Ed in LA.
And I really worry that Board Members or the Superintendent – not always the brightest crayons in the box - might read and believe this letter from staff!