- Los Angeles Unified School District
Los Angeles Unified Board of Education Approves Board Member Tanya Ortiz Franklin’s Resolution to Expand Equitable Arts Access (05-10-22)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Alexandria Castellanos
Los Angeles Unified Board of Education Approves Board Member Tanya Ortiz Franklin’s Resolution to Expand Equitable Arts Access
LOS ANGELES (May 10, 2022) — The Los Angeles Unified Board of Education approved Board Member Tanya Ortiz Franklin’s resolution, committing to equitable access to high quality, culturally relevant and developmentally appropriate arts education to all students districtwide.
The resolution aims to intentionally build and strengthen the quality and quantity of arts education through collaborative efforts, such as increased partnerships and a community-led arts advisory council. It directs the Superintendent to create a plan for addressing existing gaps across student groups, grade levels and communities in access to arts programming.
“All children have a right to an education that not only expands the mind, but also feeds the soul,” Superintendent Alberto M. Carvalho said. “Exposure and immersion in the arts is essential to a full education. Equity requires access to meaningful participation in the arts for all of our students.”
“This is the result of a student-led effort. Students raised their voices and advocated to make a change in access to and quality of arts education,” Board Member Franklin said. “As part of our commitment to student achievement we must expand their learning in holistic ways. The access and justice to core arts instruction like dance, music, visual, digital and theater courses and standards are the same value as other content areas like English language arts, math and science instruction.”
“Arts education has a profound impact on student engagement and development, so it’s critical we make investments to prioritize equity in bringing new arts opportunities to students,” Board President and co-sponsor Kelly Gonez said. “After two years of uncertainty and isolation, many students will benefit from the enriching experiences that were made impossible due to the pandemic.”
“The arts are for everybody—and today’s commitment will help ensure that every student has equitable access to high-quality, comprehensive arts programming in their school communities,” Board Vice President and co-sponsor Nick Melvoin said. “This is especially important right now, as we support our kids’ path to recovery with the kinds of creative outlets and opportunities for self-expression that arts education provides.”
“Art heals,” Board Member and co-sponsor Mónica García said. “Equity also heals and is necessary to create the spaces for learning and wellness. It’s time.”
“Art education and hands-on creativity play a critical role in the cognitive development of our youngest learners,” Board Member and co-sponsor Scott M. Schmerelson said. “We know that many of our most historically underserved students do not always experience or participate in the five arts disciplines on a regular basis. It is my hope that this resolution will allow us to close the gap and give an opportunity to all pre K-12 students to develop their creative skills, broaden their horizons and access diverse career opportunities in the twenty-first century economy.”
“Research clearly shows that arts education improves student achievement in every core subject, plus increases test scores, confidence, and graduation rates, particularly for lower-performing students,” Board Member and co-sponsor Jackie Goldberg said. “The outcomes that we all want for every child in this District requires ensuring equitable resources for arts education in our high and highest need schools.
“The Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture supports the Los Angeles Unified Arts Justice resolution and its effort to increase access, equity, and student voice in arts education,” Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture Director of Arts Education Denise Grande said. “The resolution’s values align with those in the Arts for All Children, Youth, and Families: Los Angeles County’s New Regional Blueprint for Arts Education (Arts Ed Blueprint), which was developed with input from over 600 stakeholders, including a Youth Advisory Council, and adopted by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors in 2020.
“The Arts Ed Blueprint sets forth a policy vision for equity and access in arts education for all of Los Angeles County’s young people, calling for arts learning in schools, throughout communities, and in service of justice-impacted youth,” Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture Director Kristin Sakoda said. “We invite all school districts, educators, teaching artists, and organizations to set new goals to implement the structural changes prioritized in this collective vision for arts education in our region,”
“We are overjoyed by the Board’s adoption of the Arts Justice resolution which boldly demonstrates to all students, educators, families, and communities that arts education matters!” UTLA Arts Education Committee Chair Ginger Rose Fox said. “Discovering and acknowledging the gaps in high-quality arts access is an important first step in restoring, rebuilding, and expanding standards-based arts education in all arts disciplines (dance, media arts, music, theater, and visual arts) for all PK-12 students.”
“Filling the gaps in current arts programming to meet the requirements in the California Education Code will ensure that every student has an equitable opportunity to create and learn each of the five essential arts disciplines from credentialed and fully supported arts teachers in arts-rich environments and appropriate arts spaces, with the necessary equipment, materials and supplies throughout their educational experience in LAUSD,” Student Board Member and co-sponsor Parishi Kanuga said. “We are grateful to Board Members Tanya Ortiz Franklin and Nick Melvoin for sponsoring,”
Board Member Franklin commends the ACLU Youth Liberty Squad, which was instrumental in elevating best practices and approaches to creating a supportive Arts Justice Resolution.
“For years, we have seen the arts devalued in favor of more quantifiable subjects at school. It is rare to have access to a dance class, yet alone a digital animation class,” Granada Charter High School Youth Liberty Student Squad member Natalie Shtangrud said. “As someone who has found my first and strongest community through choir, my hope is that all students in Los Angeles Unified will also have the opportunity to find their voice and closest friends through the arts. We as students have a right to consistent arts classes, a right to community, mental health resources, and a school that supports our creativity.”
The Governing Board of the Los Angeles Unified School District, as part of a comprehensive approach to achieve the Board Goals, commits to equitable access to high quality in arts education across disciplines to all pre-K-12 students.
To read the full resolution, visit https://bit.ly/ArtsJustice51022.
Board Member Franklin is a member of the Los Angeles Unified Board of Education representing Board District 7, where she was previously a student, teacher, teacher-educator and advocate. She is committed to ensuring all students graduate fully prepared to thrive in the college, career and life of their choice. Los Angeles Unified Board District 7 includes the diverse communities of South Los Angeles, Watts, Gardena, Carson, Lomita, Harbor City, Wilmington and San Pedro.
For more information about Board District 7, visit us at https://www.lausd.org/bd7 or follow us on social media: Instagram (@lausdbd7), Facebook (@lausdbd7), and Twitter (@lausdbd7).