Monday, February 10, 2014


Arts at the Core?: The Los Angeles Unified School District has lost about 200 full-time arts teacher positions since the 2010-2011 school year according to CDE.


Mary Plummer |  Pass / Fail | 89.3 KPCC

Roaming music teacher - Linda Mouradian 6

Ken Scarboro/KPCC | Music teacher Linda Mouradian teaches at San Fernando Elementary School.

February 10th, 2014, 5:30am  ::  The Los Angeles Unified School District has lost about 200 full-time arts teacher positions since the 2010-2011 school year, according to the most recent data available from the California Department of Education, suggesting the district is responsible for more than half of the loss cited in a new report last week.

The Otis report on the Creative Economy found that L.A. County lost 10 percent of its arts teachers between the 2010-2011 to 2011-2012 school years. Countywide, teachers fell 7.8 percent during that time. L.A. Unified makes up about 42 percent of the students in the county.

The data examined by KPCC provides a snapshot of arts teachers, but is not comprehensive. KPCC looked at the four main art categories  - dance, art, drama and music - in the California Department of Education's subject area courses data sets. The numbers are calculated by "full-time equivalent" measures, meaning a full-time teacher is 1.00, and a half-time position is .50.

Data by subject area courses for K-12 art, dance, drama and music using numbers based on Full-Time Equivalent teachers. This chart focuses on the four main art categories provided by CDE — CDE also offers data on other teaching positions that may include the arts that were not included in this chart (for example, advanced placement studio art and web design categories were not included). (Chart produced by Mike Roe/KPCC)

The most recent available L.A. County statistics show gains in the number of full-time arts teaching positions in the year following what was included in the Otis report - about 30 positions were added to the 2012-2013 school year from 2011-2012. But at the district level, Los Angeles Unified lost about 45 teaching positions during the same time period.

In Orange County, the Otis Report found that full-time equivalent arts teaching positions edged up slightly, half a percentage point, while overall numbers of teachers in the districts were boosted by 15.7 percent for 2011-12. It did not drill down by districts within counties.

"One of the immediate things that struck us in the data is it's a very broad brush," said Laura Zucker, executive director of the Los Angeles County Arts Commission, referring to the Otis report. "A decline in one school district like LAUSD, which we know has happened the past few years, can negate really the wonderful work that's happening in so many other school districts around the county where we know capacity is being added."

There are 80 K-12 school districts in L.A. County.

Zucker also said California Department of Education data, used by KPCC and the Otis College of Art and Design, don't include all arts teachers. Classroom teachers who incorporate arts into the school day aren't counted; neither are arts teachers from outside groups that partner with school districts. These teaching artists are commonly used by districts to supplement arts access.

Zucker said she was pleased to see arts course enrollment in L.A. County was similar in 2011-12 to what it was pre-recession, according to the Otis report. Otis also found arts classes in L.A. County were up more than 20 percent between 2005-2006 and 2011-12.

Zucker said her group will partner with Otis to get a better count of arts education instruction in L.A. County for the 2014 report.

earlier story

Arts teachers in LA County schools decreased by 10 percentAUDIO

Mary Plummer |  | Pass / Fail | 89.3 KPCC music teacher - Linda Mouradian 10
Ken Scarboro/KPCC | February 6th, 2014, 6:01am  ::  Advanced violin students at San Fernando Elementary in the Los Angeles Unified School District.

February 6th, 2014, 6:01am  ::  A report to be released Thursday by the Otis College of Art and Design shows the number of arts teachers in Los Angeles County fell by about 10 percent in the 2011-2012 school year, the most recent data examined.

The 2013 Otis Report on the Creative Economy looked at figures from the California Department of Education and found more than 200 arts teacher positions disappeared between the 2010-11 school year and 2011-2012 in Los Angeles County — while overall the number of arts teachers in the state remained stable in that same period.

"Students' demand remains high, but unfortunately the county response to both student demands and the demands of our times is not equivalent," said Samuel Hoi, president of Otis College, which publishes the annual report on the state of the creative economy.

To be sure, school budgets have improved since then. Schools got an extra $2.1 billion in new funding in the 2013-14 budget - the first increase in years.

For 2011-2012, the number of K-12 arts teachers in L.A. County was 1,842. That's out of 27,599 teachers in all. While overall the teaching body dropped 7.8 percent that year, the number of arts teachers dropped in a higher proportion.

The reason for the decline was not studied. However, Robert Kleinhenz, chief economist at the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation, who was the principal author of the report, said he suspects school districts' budgetary problems - as well as declining enrollment trends - may be to blame.

"As that happens, you're going to see some reorganizing of efforts and resources in and out of different areas," he said.

Kleinhenz said Orange County, which saw a small increase in its teaching arts corps, probably has more affluent districts as a whole than Los Angeles County.

Arts education represents a small portion of the 156-page report, which found that 351,500 people worked directly in the creative industry in Los Angeles County in 2012. The authors said the creative economy makes up 7.8 percent of California’s Gross State Product. This is the first year that the report examined the entire state.

Other arts education findings:

  • - In Orange County, the number of art teachers increased half a percent for the 2011-2012 school year, compared with 2010-2011. The total number of teachers in the county increased 15.7 percent. The county had 670 K-12 arts teachers as of 2011-2012.
  • - The number of K-12 arts classes in L.A. County increased from the 2010-2011 school year to 2011-2012, from 11,277 to 11,885. That count includes classes in art, dance, drama, music and web design. Orange County saw a similar trend; Arts classes there increased from 3,185 to 3,569 during the same period.
  • - In L.A. County there are 401 private, post-secondary arts school locations; Orange County has 126.
  • - Statewide there are about 5,500 arts education nonprofits, according to representative sample data from the IRS, which economists said likely underestimates the actual numbers. That's about 3.8 percent of all nonprofits in California.
  • - Nonprofits in L.A. County reported $2.1 billion in income. Arts education organizations made up 12.4 percent of that total. Performing arts schools accounted for 7 percent.

2013-Otis Report on the Creative Economy

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