California Desert Arts Council has sent a letter in support of a state bill (SB 933) that would provide school districts with a “jump start” in arts education funding, enabling schools to fulfill the California Education Code requiring that every student receive arts education.
In the letter to state Sen. Ben Allen, the bill’s author, CDAC President and CEO Christi Salamone emphasized that only 38 percent of students in California public schools have access to the arts, and that access is significantly lower in low-income and rural schools, according to the California Arts Education Data Project.
CDAC works with local school districts to assist with curriculum development and provide students with access to internships, mentors, and scholarships. “We know the arts prepare our students to enter the workforce by fostering skills that include innovation, persistence, and collaboration,” Salamone says. In addition, the creative industries account for one out of every ten jobs in California, and provide $273 billion annually to our state’s economy.
“Access to arts education instruction should not be determined by where a student happens to live,” Salamone says, noting data shows that in districts and schools in low-income communities, students are twice as likely not to receive the benefits of arts instruction when compared to more affluent communities.
“This inequity is unacceptable,” Salamone adds. “That is why we are urging passage and funding of SB 933, known as the Arts For Every Student Incentive Act. Every student deserves the benefits of arts education. SB 933 honors the promise of our education code by helping to ensure that the arts are part of the education that every student receives.”
Photo: In the Coachella Valley, schoolchildren often enjoy privately funded art experiences like Warhol in the Park in Palm Desert, Palm Springs, La Quinta, and Coachella.