The importance of arts education
During this uncertain and destabilizing time, I have watched with growing alarm as school districts across LA County propose drastic cuts to arts education programs. While there is no doubt that the economic devastation caused by COVID-19 is forcing leaders to make difficult decisions, I take this opportunity to remind our school board members that California education code legally requires every student to have access to arts education.
Additionally, multiple studies show that arts education increases student engagement, their sense of connection, average daily attendance rates, and thus graduation rates. This cannot be overlooked as distance learning fuels an “engagement crisis” and drop-out rates spike across the state. Evidence shows that students with arts ed are:
Five-times less likely to drop out of school,
Four-times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement, and
Three-times more likely to earn a bachelor's degree.
This is an issue of basic equity. We know low-income students & students of color face the greatest barriers to the high quality arts instruction they deserve. And, because the creative sector generates 1 in 10 jobs in the SoCal region, cutting funding for these essential programs will negatively impact an entire generation of students preparing to enter California’s workforce.
If we fail to recognize the importance of arts education, we fail our children. We must invest in the arts programs that will ensure students have the tools they need to thrive. Do not cut arts education funding when our children need it most.