Editor:

Arts Advocacy Day is underway right now in Washington, D.C. Concerned people from across the country are visiting Congress to discuss issues important to them — including the importance of arts education.

Make no mistake: action is needed. The fiscal emergency our schools experienced, combined with a narrowing curriculum created by an overemphasis on bubble tests, led to harmful cuts to arts education programs around our state.

We should be concerned about this. Arts education programs are vital to California’s robust creative economy, our global competitiveness, and to our schools’ ability to engage with our students.

That’s why I’ve made restoring arts education programs one of my top priorities since the first days as your state superintendent. It’s why I’ve supported the statewide CREATE CA Coalition. It’s why, as part of that effort, I commissioned a Blueprint for Creative Schools Task Force to make recommendations about this important work.

We know a high-quality arts education benefits our students. The arts help support lifelong learning. The arts give our students hands-on experiences with important 21st century skills. The arts help give students reasons to stay engaged with their studies and avoid dropping out of school.

I’ve told audiences throughout the state that every one of our 6.2 million students needs to have access to a high-quality arts education. I hope you will help me spread the word about why we should accept nothing less than a renaissance of arts education in California.

 

Tom Torlakson

State Superintendent of Public Instruction

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