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Dylan To
Austin Carter
Writing 39C
6 March, 2018

Advocacy Project: The Fight for the Arts, we need more funding in the Budget for them

Historical background

Dear Superintendent Tom Torlakson, Commented [DT1]: Decide if I need this

“Arts education, long dismissed as a frill, is disappearing form the lives of many

students—particularly poor urban students.” Susan Chiara, a senior editor at the New York

Times, says in her 1993 article, A Schools Trim Budgets, The Arts Lose their Place. Chiara notes

that despite “Every year, school budgets are altered and inevitably cut. The American has

focused the budget towards subjects such as Math and language arts, subjects that are tested on.

The budget portions out to sports, such as football. These focal points where the funding is

allocated to are simply places where schools get a large return on investment—where the money

comes back in. As a result, the art programs in schools are set on the side and are often the first

to be cut, fading from existence. Come 2018. President Donald Trump is slated to further cut the

National Endowment of the Arts, a voluntary governmental body that supplies funding for the

progressive movement of the arts. (NPR) With these large cuts the lifeline of the arts remaining

in school are waning away as the funding is disappearing.

The arts are an incredibly viable solution to broader academic issues such as dropout

rates, student motivation, as well as notably important, academic success. As described Lois

Hetland’s Studio Thinking 2, our schools are “under resourced,” a dropout rate averaging
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between 35% between Hispanics and African American students. The shift of focus toward

testing because of the 2001 No Child Left Behind Act enacted by President George Bush, has

created a trend in which testing has become the primary focus of schools, filling in a lot of the

curriculum and budget. The arts have been waning away while teachers are pressured into

focusing their teachings on passing tests. Julian Vasquez Heilig references the 2008 McMurrer

survey on over 349 public school districts, since the enactment of the NCLB act, overall

instructional time for math and language arts has increased by 45 and 58% respectively. All

while the arts instructional time has decreased by 16% since the NCLB enactment. (Heilig)

As the trends of the budget continue to follow its history of cutting the arts, Students,

parents, and even teachers alike are looking for the return of the arts and creativity back into the

curriculum. Figure 1 demonstrates the breakdown of how strong the public support for the art

education from The May 2005 Harris Poll.

So what’s the real issue here? Budgets

are an incredibly fickle matter that have created

sides arguing for what should get the most money,

and our public-school system has come to reflect

this thinking. Schools have now become so focused

on the dollar, that the well-being and spirit of

learning of the students are being tossed aside. As

we have discussed, the overall governmental budget

as due to public devaluation, the preference of

allocating education funds as well as testing culture

Figure 1 3 (Critical Evidence) Data of the Public support
for arts education despite the cut of budget for them. in schools, has systematically diminished the arts.
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As a result, students are losing the opportunity of the real purpose of education, which is meant

to inspire and educate. The arts epitomize inspiration in education. So why should a student

move on to graduate or go to college if all they are going to be doing is taking tests? Why must

students that don’t excel in sports be left out of having something to spend their energy and

foster skills beyond what is in the tested curriculum? There is overwhelming public support for

arts to remain in schools, yet continually, year by year the programs are disappearing. The arts

supply so much benefit from improved achievement to overall education motivation and should

not be cut as much as it has. Budget cuts of the arts, film, and music programs are a continuation

of this harmful issue. Commented [DT2]: Fix up

What’s the Answer?

So, what is the solution? I propose, the solution of simply, move to expand the Elementary

and Secondary Education Act, that was reopened and passed back in December 2015 (Arts for

America) that listed the arts be a core subject in the well-rounded education we are trying to

provide our children. How to specifically do we do this? The answer is simple, I merely propose

that the mandate to provide at least an equal and adequate portion of the annual education budget

aside to fund art programs in schools as represented by the Elementary and Secondary Education

act, will improve the situation of the exponential reduction of the arts budgets in school, that

reduces the quality of education for students.

The solution, cypins a small portion of each other budget that have excess funding, that

isn’t always used, to provide a quality adequate number of classes for students to take for the arts,

essentially evening out the allocation for the budgets. In turn the, academic improvement due to

the arts, with provide a high return to the schools through testing in other subjects.
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For the first year, the policy will take no additional budget, or at least requires some from

other sources, such as the NEA and America for the Arts, which are happily willing to provide, to

address the increase funding. And minimal excess chaining from other subjects to boost the arts,

offering different inviting artistic classes for students to take. This doesn’t need to be every year,

as supplies last, enough fore basic material reloading and for teacher salary. The improvement to

the students will return as improved testing and achievement.

we set an adequate minimum portion of the budget for each of the California school

districts to invest into the arts and surrounding classes of each. As such as film and media,

photography, dance, and music. As we have discussed earlier the arts are immensely beneficial

to the students. The Math and ELA Department are large absorbers of the budget, and no

offense, they do not necessarily need it all. Commented [DT3]: Revise

Our country’s exponential ramp of focus on testing as severely prioritized the subjects

that are being tested on, while the arts have been put on the sidelines. Each of the state’s school Commented [DT4]: Add to how cost beneficial it is, add
examples of how its beneficial
district receives (insert money amount that the state of California school districts receives) As the

State government provides schools 45.3% of the funding, the CA board of education holds a

large say in how the budget at each school should be allocated. As of 2017 the arts programs in

California receive (insert money) and about (percent) goes into the arts at each school. The

proposed policy is would mandate at least the amount of money it takes to fund one of each of

the major arts programs along side the other core subjects. Every year there is a cut out of more

and more classes, as it doesn’t have the funds to supply a quality arts education nor spend on the

teacher, just as the AP Arts program at Serra High School in 2016.

Far too little of the budget goes into the arts regardless of the mandate of a performing art

as a graduation requirement. Sports and other core subject, do have all their merit, however, the
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studies do show the benefits and improvement in those, if students have exposure to the arts,

each of those fields improve (cite from hcp)

The time for change in policy is now. The passing of Every Student Succeeds Act

(ESSA) was a significant move by the Senate, as they had not considered K-12 public education

legislation on the Senate floor since 2001. Under this federal law, the arts are included as part of

a “well-rounded education” requiring that the arts have equal billing with reading, math, science,

and other disciplines in K-12 public education. This designation is an acknowledgement of the

relevance of the arts in a complete education and means that the arts may be an eligible

expenditure of funds for federal education programs (Davidson, B., Kahn, G., & Fitzsimons, I.,

2015, p. 2). And yet the arts are being forgotten and do not receive as much funding as the other


Educators are indeed “hopping aboard the standards movement,” Scholar Elliot W Eisner

professor of education at Stanford University, in her journal article “Arts Education Policy” She

notes that it is understandable why they are as “to be left out is to be disregarded, and to be

disregarded is no asset when it comes to support one’s program.” (Eisner 1) All the funding
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comes to the subject that have the most potential to

generate revenue, the ones that are on standardized

tests. Art may now bring in as much money, however

the benefits are to reap.

Groups such as the NEA, or the National

Endowment of the Arts, or America for the Arts all

have advocacy programs and initiatives the push to

return the arts to school curriculums. According to

Figure (2) The NEA supplies $5 billion dollars

through grants tor support the arts. However, the

trend of art programs in schools are continuing to

falter. Adjusting and adhering to a new expanded

policy is necessary. Providing a minimal allotment of

the budget to serve students a quality and interactive

experience in the art departments is crucial.

Superintendent Torlakson, I urge you to make

the appropriate moves to make this policy change. Of

all the reasons why, the numbers do show, the

dropout rate (shown in Figure 2) is largely due to

students losing interest in taking tests all the time.

The arts engage learning and as I have stated before,

improve from having artistic and creative outlets. Figure 2 NEA Grant distribution
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Figure 3 The dropout rates (change to more accurately represent the arts situation.

Katy School District’ Bob Bryant states in his testimony for the importance of arts in schools,

“The fine arts also provide learners with non-academic benefits such as promoting self-esteem,

motivation, aesthetic awareness, cultural exposure, creativity, improved emotional expression, as

well as social harmony and appreciation of diversity.” (Bryant) And while sports and clubs do

help achieve this, not all students have the opportunity to participate outside of school. Raising

the budget allocation to the school art programs, will incentivize them to take the classes and

become over all better students. The remaining art programs we have now are so vague and don’t

peak interest.

Expanding the amount of diversity in the arts only come with a budget. Quality arts educators

and programs in our California schools will improve our testing score over all, as well as student

motivation. Commented [DT5]: Probably wanna look at this again

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Of course, there are qualities of this policy that may seem detrimental, as well as the turbulent

economic times that have remained for several years, make this seem like a debatable use of

funds. Tyleah Hawkins in a Washington Post article discusses some of the budget cuts in the arts

as a trend over the las few decades, noting that the general reason for budget cuts is out of overall

funding reductions. (Hawkins) While economically having s school district follow this, and that

it is important to invest funding into ventures that bring money back into the schools such as

sports and standardized testing. Yes, the arts can be expensive and sports in a way fill the same

academic relief and prevent dropout rates. But the value to the student and what it can do for

them is priceless. The benefits it brings will return to schools through improvement through

academics that will show on test scores, as well as improved attendance in high school will

improve the overall quality of education and motivation.

The allotment for a minimum quality budget for schools to spend on the arts is absolutely

crucial. According to Hawkins, lower income schools have gotten to a point where they had to

cut arts programs all together to balance out their budget. The cuts have denied several schools

of arts education as they did not have all the necessary funds to keep them. ” (Hawkins)

According to a study titled “The Role of the Fine and Performing Arts in High School Dropout

Prevention,” by the Center for Music Research at Florida State University, “Students at risk of

not successfully completing their high school educations cite their participation in the arts as

reasons for staying in school. Factors related to the arts that positively affected the motivation of

these students included a supportive environment that promotes constructive acceptance of

criticism and one where it is safe to take risks.” (Hawkins) If it has not been said enough,
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education should be about the students, providing them with a full set of skills and learning to

contribute to the world. The arts are incredibly valuable to them, so just think, is it worth it to

deny students of such an education, in order to keep a tidy budget.

What needs to happen

Hello, my name is Pablo hollo estuary and my sisters

name is Kyle, and she has a beard. Ok bye just try

Superintendent Tolarkin, please consider implementing

this plan, I know that the 2017-2018 Budget plan has been

submitted in July, utilizing Prop 98, increasing overall

funding. Please for the 2018- 2019 Budget Act enact this

small change, there is small downsides for making a large

beneficial impact into California students’ education, for

reiteration, the benefits are detailed in figure 5 on the

right. The arts have been suffering for years, and now is

the time to reverse it. The curriculum is what credited

education advocate Diane Ravitch has believed makes that

definitive difference in improving our education system is

the balanced and well attuned curriculum, and to achieve

that now, we must improve the budget situation for a

critical part of our education system. really bye.

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“Arts Education Policy and Funding.” Americans for the Arts, 29 Mar. 2017,



The American for the Arts group is one of the largest advocacy groups for arts education,

raising awareness and updating multiple ways one can be involved. They supply governmental as

well as scholarly information on the benefits of the arts, and the push to reimplement them in to

schools. It provided valuable data on the budgets and policies in the work for these programs.

“Arts and Afterschool: A Powerful Combination.” Afterschool Alert, no. 21, Aug. 2005.


This journal article discusses the benefits of both afterschool programs as well as the arts,

and discuss the implementation of both. The article contains valuable information and statistics

on the benefits to the students as well as budgetary information,

Crotty, James Marshall. “Motivation Matters: 40% Of High School Students Chronically

Disengaged From School.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 13 Mar. 2013,



“The Top 10 Ways to Support Arts Education.” ARTS Blog, 29 June 2015,

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Ravitch, Diane. The Death and Life of the Great American School System. 2010. Basic Books,


http://www.washingtontimes.com, The Washington Times. “Arts Programs in Schools Often in

Danger of Being Cut.” The Washington Times,


danger-of-being-/. Accessed 2 Feb. 2018.

The American for the Arts group is one of the largest advocacy groups for arts education, raising

awareness and updating multiple ways one can be involved. This blog informs on how people

can be further involved through politics and how they can help.


Eisner, Elliot W. “Arts Education Policy?” Arts Education Policy Review, vol. 101, no. 3, Jan.

2000, pp. 4–6, doi:10.1080/10632910009600242.http://www.data-first.org/data/how-


egarton, Posted by. “Arts in Education Infographic Poster.” Emily Garton Designs, 12 June

2013, emilygarton.wordpress.com/2013/06/12/arts-in-education-infographic-poster/.

“Arts Education.” CQ Researcher by CQ Press,

http://library.cqpress.com/cqresearcher/cqresrre2012031600. Accessed 2 Mar. 2018.

“Federal Education Funding: Where Does the Money Go?” US News & World Report,


where-does-the-money-go. Accessed 2 Mar. 2018.

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“High School Dropout Rates.” Child Trends, https://www.childtrends.org/indicators/high-school-

dropout-rates/. Accessed 2 Mar. 2018.

Hawkins, Tyleah. “Less Art and Music Doesn't Mean Better Test Scores.” The Washington Post,

WP Company, 28 Dec. 2012, www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/therootdc/post/will-less-




The Importance of Fine Arts Education. http://www.katyisd.org/dept/finearts/Pages/The-

Importance-of-Fine-Arts-Education-.aspx. Accessed 2 Mar. 2018.





Heilig, Julian Vasquez, et al. “From Dewey to No Child Left Behind: The Evolution and
Devolution of Public Arts Education.” Arts Education Policy Review, vol. 111, no. 4,
July 2010, pp. 136–45, doi:10.1080/10632913.2010.490776.