California Arts Council

State of California

Proclamation Concerning Visual and Performing Arts Education in California Schools from the California Arts Council
Governing body of the state arts agency approved proclamation on October 1, 2009

Published: 02-08-2010

The following Proclamation was proposed and approved by members of the California Arts Council on October 1, 2009.

We, the members of the California Arts Council, proclaim the following:

WHEREAS: The arts are especially critical in developing creativity, imagination and innovation in a workforce that successfully competes in the rapidly changing global economy; and

WHEREAS: Having comprehensive sustained and sequential arts education during the K-12 school years increases creativity, artistic participation and aesthetic appreciation later in life; and

WHEREAS: A solid foundation in the visual and performing arts provides students with critical thinking skills, establishes self-worth and confidence, encourages teamwork, teaches skills like public speaking and organization, and offers a productive environment for students to express themselves; and

WHEREAS: Studies indicate that when taking standardized tests such as the Scholastic Achievement Test (S.A.T.) students who study the visual and performing arts outperform their peers who do not have arts education; and

WHEREAS: Music, dance, theater and visual arts classes can inspire children to be interested and excited about school in general; and

WHEREAS: School performances and visual arts exhibitions promote parental participation and community pride in our education system; and

WHEREAS: After-school arts education events and programs offer our students an entertaining and constructive alternative to drugs and gangs; and

WHEREAS: The U.S. Department of Education characterizes the Arts as a core subject on par with English, reading/language arts, mathematics, science, foreign languages, civics/government, economics, history, and geography; and

WHEREAS: Both the University of California and California State University systems require applicants to have completed at least one year of Visual and Performing Arts before being considered for admission, as do many private colleges and universities;

WHEREAS: The California Education Code states that schools shall provide instruction in the arts, including the subjects of dance, music, theatre, and visual arts; and

WHEREAS: The California Board of Education adopted Standards for the Visual and Performing Arts for grades K-12 in 2001 and published a Framework for Visual and Performing Arts education in 2004; and

WHEREAS: Recent studies indicate significant inadequacy in providing Visual and Performing Arts Education in California schools, with 89% of California K-12 schools failing to offer a standards-based course of study in all four disciplines of dance, music, theater and visual arts; and

WHEREAS: The 2009-10 state budget allows school districts to reallocate Music and Arts block grant funding for non-arts education purposes, potentially decreasing the quality and number of schools providing arts education;

THEREFORE: We, the members of the California Arts Council, recommend:

THAT the California State Board of Education recognize the Visual and Performing Arts as a "core subject," in line with the U.S. Department of Education; and

THAT all California schools utilize the Visual and Performing Arts Standards and Framework and provide quality, standards-based courses of study in all four arts-education disciplines of music, theater, dance and the visual arts; and

THAT school district administrators allocate the Art and Music Block Grant funds for arts education in their schools; and

THAT California schools consider partnering with quality community arts organizations and artists to provide students with a complete arts education experiences during the school day, as well as before-school and after-school programs; and

THAT parents, teachers, and arts education supporters advocate for quality K-12 arts education as prescribed by the Department of Education's Visual and Performing Arts Standards and Framework; and

THAT these recommendations be implemented expeditiously to provide a complete, well-rounded, and meaningful education for California's children.


Members of the California Arts Council

(The proclamation was approved unanimously on October 1, 2009. Voting members in attendance:  Malissa Feruzzi Shriver (Chair), Michael Alexander, Adam Hubbard, Charmaine Jefferson, Fred Sands, and Karen Skelton. Members who were not in attendance on October 1 but signed the proclamation on January 26, 2010, include Susan Steinhauser and William Turner.)

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