More California Students May Get Access to Arts Education

A new bill to increase arts education in California has its advocates, but also its skeptics who question how the quality of arts education will be guaranteed.

California state senator, Ben Allen, has proposed a bill, SB-933: " Arts for Every Student Incentive Grant Program" that would be handled by the State Department of Education to ensure that students are taught visual and performing arts. Although the state already has a law requiring districts to provide arts to California students, the law has never been enforced and budget cuts have often led to elimination of arts programs. Bill SB-933 would provide financial incentives using state budget surplus to create a one-time grant program.

Many organizations say they support the bill, recognizing that arts instruction increases students' learning achievement in non-arts subjects, but they are also hesitant to fully commit because of their concern for the way in which the program will be administered. Professional educators are skeptical that the quality of arts teaching will be compromised, as the bill allows, private arts teachers to teach some of the classes. They think only credentialed teachers can provide the quality arts education students deserve. The other concern is that the grant is only available for one year. They question whether a one-time grant is worth pursuing if there are no plans to continue the program in the future.

By: Nancy Rubesch