Arts Education
March 19, 2023


Whereas, the California Education Code sections 51210 and 51220 provide that California schools must provide a course of study for students in grades 1 through 12 with courses or instruction in visual and performing arts, including dance, music, theater, and visual arts, aimed at the development of aesthetic appreciation and the skills of creative expression; and

Whereas, the California Arts Standards for Public Schools, Prekindergarten Through Grade Twelve, was adopted by the State Board of Education on January 9, 2019, to foster students’ artistic competencies; cultivate their appreciation and understanding of the arts in ways that are enjoyable, fulfilling, and transferable to personal, academic, and professional endeavors; and support them to fully engage in lifelong arts learning; and

Whereas, the California Arts Education Framework for Public Schools, Transitional Kindergarten Through Grade Twelve (Arts Framework) was adopted by the State Board of Education on July 8, 2020, to provide guidance for educational programs on how to implement standards-based arts education; and

Whereas, the CFT has adopted at least three resolutions committed to strengthening arts education by supporting legislation and other statewide initiatives and actions to ensure equitable access to high quality, standards-based, comprehensive, sequential, culturally relevant, and developmentally appropriate arts education taught by well-prepared and fully certificated arts educators across all five arts disciplines to all PK-12 public school students. CFT’s arts-focused resolutions have included the 2011 resolution entitled “Fully implement Visual and Performing Arts Content Standards,” the 2013 resolution calling for “Equity for Dance and Theatre as Arts Education,” and the 2014 resolution to “Require Comprehensive Data Collection in the Visual and Performing Arts”; and

Whereas, in November 2022, the CFT supported and a majority of the voters in the state of California adopted Proposition 28, the “Arts and Music in Schools Funding Guarantee and Accountability Act.” Beginning with the 2023-2024 school year, Proposition 28 requires the state of California to provide additional funding to increase arts instruction and/or arts programs in public schools; and 

Whereas, the amount of funding required by Proposition 28 each year will equal 1% of the constitutionally required state and local funding that public schools received the year before. This funding is intended to significantly increase equity and access in arts education for all students in public schools across the state by allocating a greater proportion of the additional funds to schools serving more economically disadvantaged students. Schools with 500 or more students must spend at least 80% of the funding to employ teachers and the remainder on training, supplies, and education partnerships; and

Whereas, while generous in funding, Proposition 28 lacks specific language and oversight to ensure appropriate implementation of a comprehensive, sequential, and well-balanced course of study of arts education instruction and courses in all five arts disciplines (Dance, Media Arts, Music, Theatre, and Visual Arts) taught by well-prepared and fully certificated arts educators during the instructional school day to benefit all students at all public schools; and

Whereas, Proposition 28 requires the principal of a school site (or the program director of a preschool) to develop a plan for spending the funding they receive. However, there is no requirement that the principal or program director must consult with all stakeholders, including certificated arts educators assigned to each school, to determine how to expand a site’s arts instruction and/or programs; and

Whereas, Proposition 28 provides a waiver process whereby the California Department of Education (CDE) may approve requests from schools “for good cause shown” to spend less than the 80% required by the proposition on certificated staff, thus creating the potential for supplanting unionized positions and increased privatization of arts education programs in public schools. Private arts organizations should be fundraising on their own in order to supplement the arts instruction provided by certificated arts educators; 

Therefore, be it resolved, that the CFT must shall take necessary and appropriate steps/actions to support and protect certificated educators from any potential negative consequences that result from the implementation of Proposition 28. These steps/actions must:

  1. Ensure that districts/schools uphold the “supplement, not supplant” requirement of Proposition 28, and will not close positions, displace, and/or lay off currently employed arts educators in order to re-open positions and/or rehire educators the following school year using Proposition 28 funds. CFT will work with its locals to track and report any known violations to the CDE.
  2. Ensure that the waiver process outlined in Proposition 28 will not result in supplanting of union jobs and positions for certificated arts educators in any arts discipline (Dance, Media Arts, Music, Theatre, and Visual Arts) by private arts organizations, non-certificated “teaching artists,” “Artists-in-Residence,” and other consultants or subcontractors; and

Be it further resolved, that the  steps/actions taken by CFT must also include the following:

  1. Advocating that any waivers submitted to the CDE to request that the 80% be used for anything other than to hire certificated arts educators must only be approved by the CDE if the principal first consults with all stakeholders, including certificated arts educators assigned to the school.
  2. Advocating that the remaining 20% of funds must first be allocated to purchase adequate and appropriate supplies and materials required for arts teaching and learning occurring during the instructional school day prior to allocating any funds to “arts partnership programs.”
  3. Ensuring that the arts programs provided at each school are aligned with the California Arts Content Standards for Public Schools and the California Arts Education Framework for Public Schools; and

Be it further resolved, that, given the current shortage of arts educators statewide, CFT must support, advocate, and lobby for the following statewide:

  1. Training and certification of pre-service arts educators in California colleges and universities.
  2. Establishment of additional Subject Matter Preparation Programs for Single Subject Credentials in Dance and Theatre required by the implementation of SB 916 (Allen, 2016) the Theatre and Dance Act (TADA!).
  3. Development of a Single Subject Credential and Subject Matter Authorization in Media Arts. 
  4. Inclusion of Dance, Media Arts, Music, Theatre, and Visual Arts as designated shortage fields in order to become eligible for state-funded grant programs (Teacher Residency Grants and Teacher Preparation Planning and Implementation Grants, etc.); and

Be it finally resolved, that the CFT will recommit its lobbying effort, support and encouragement of its locals to work with Local Educational Agencies and their school districts for the full implementation of the California Arts Content Standards for Public Schools by following the California Arts Education Framework for Public Schools, and offering a comprehensive, sequential, and balanced course of study in all discrete arts disciplines (Dance, Media Arts, Music, Theatre, and Visual Arts) taught by well-prepared and fully certificated arts educators as an essential part of the core curriculum for all students in all California public schools, as required by the California State Education Code (Sections 51210 and 51220).

  • Submitted by United Teachers Los Angeles, Local 102