These are hard times, especially in nearly bankrupt California. But are we content to see the California legislature gut the heart (i.e., the arts) out of education? The arts and foreign languages are fundamental to education, especially in the world we live in today. If creative thinking and global communications were ever needed in this world, we need them now. And the beleaguered California legislature chooses to eliminate these high school graduation requirements for what reasons? Is there really much money to be saved by going after educational fields that are laughably underfunded to start with? According to the author of this legislation, “the intent … is to increase high school graduation rates, which is an ever-pressing issue.” Is he serious? Is the goal of “graduating” more students overriding the goal of educating them? But this unfortunate piece of legislation passed the California Assembly 76 to 0, and is now headed for the state senate. Email them a copy of our Declaration of Music and the Arts to remind them of all the ways that the arts are essential in education.
Take the LA Times poll on whether California should drop arts and language requirements for high school graduation. Read more about bill AB2446 then send a message to the politicians who are playing with our kids’ education, which seems to be getting dumb and dumber. Even if you are not from California, this is a dangerous trend in education that is not confined to that state. Everyone should rally and send a loud and clear message, like we did in Texas: “Don’t mess with our arts.”
President John F. Kennedy hit the nail on the head on the importance of arts in a nation:
“The life of the arts, far from being an interruption, a distraction, in the life of a nation, is very close to the center of a nation’s purpose and is a test of the quality of a nation’s civilization."