January 17, 2014 :: Despite a board resolution in 2012 calling for a restoration of arts funding in Los Angeles, Superintendent John Deasy has refused to prepare a budget complying with the resolution.
“In 2012, the Los Angeles Unified School District board voted to make arts education a core subject in its curriculum.
“Four months ago, the board gave district officials a Dec. 3 deadline to produce a budget for the school district’s Arts Education and Creative Cultural Network Plan, which aims to prepare students for work in creative and technology-based fields by increasing arts-related course offerings and increased faculty support.
“That deadline, however, came and went without so much as a “the check’s in the mail”— leaving public school officials and parents to wonder whether music and arts funding is coming at all.
“I see this as an absolute conflict between two opposing views on what public education should look like: Those who want to see arts as a core subject, and those who are only concerned about test scores and offering students a limited education,” said Karen Wolfe, a Venice Neighborhood Council Education Committee member whose daughter attends Marina Del Rey Middle School.
“Last year the school hired a ballet teacher and began requiring all of its students to take dance classes, said Marina Del Rey Middle School Performing Arts Coordinator Nancy Pierandozzi.
“Venice High School, Mark Twain Middle School and Grand View Boulevard and Broadway elementary schools have also begun integrating performing arts content into English/language arts classes.
“That combination has for some students resulted in a drastic turnaround in attendance and academic achievement, said LAUSD board member Steve Zimmer, whose district includes schools in Mar Vista, Westchester, Del Rey and Venice.
“Author of the September resolution calling for an arts budget, Zimmer has pledged to push Supt. John Deasy for answers when school is back in session later this month.
“Deasy could not be reached.”
The district has committed to spend $1 billion to give an iPad to every student and staff member, to prepare for Common Core testing.