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SVUSD Candidates Talk Arts Education

Candidates running for the Saddleback Valley Unified School District Board of Trustees respond to questions from the California Alliance for Arts Education.

How important is arts education in children's schooling? Very, says the California Alliance for Arts Education.

The organization recently reached out to the four candidates running for three seats on the Saddleback Valley Unified School Board this November and asked each four arts-related questions as part of a pre-election survey.

Campaigning for reelection to the SVUSD board are trustees Ginny Fay Aitkens, Don Sedgwick and Suzie Swartz. Candidate Earl Carraway is challenging the incumbents.

Each candidate had the opportunity to answer the following questions:

  • What meaningful experiences with the arts (visual arts, dance, drama and/or music) did you have growing up?
  • What role do you think the arts can play in supporting key education priorities such as closing the achievement gap, reducing the dropout rate and preparing more students for college eligibility and the 21st century workforce?
  • A standards-based arts curriculum is one of the five core subjects in NCLB and critical for developing job skills vital in the creative economy and the 21st century workforce. Yet, most often only "what is tested is taught" in our schools. How do you envision bringing balance back for a comprehensive education and ensuring that all students have access to a quality, standards-based arts education curriculum?
  • If elected, how will you engage classroom teachers, arts teachers, parents and community arts organizations to shape your agenda for arts education or implement your district’s strategic arts plan?

Click here to read the four candidates' responses.

Locally, Arts Orange County advocates for arts education in the classroom. Arts OC works in partnership with the statewide Alliance for Arts Education.

Learn more about the four candidates running for the SVUSD Board of Trustees by reading their candidate statements:

  • SVUSD Candidate Statement: Ginny Fay Aitkens
  • SVUSD Candidate Statement: Earl Carraway
  • SVUSD Candidate Statement: Don Sedgwick
  • SVUSD Candidate Statement: Suzie Swartz

Did arts education influence your schooling? Tell us in the comments.

Charles October 16, 2012 at 02:21 PM
Kids, even as early as fourth grade, would be a lot better off with an MS Excel class than an art class.
Sue Klingseis October 16, 2012 at 05:04 PM
Why not both?
Colleen Logomasini October 16, 2012 at 05:06 PM
Why the Arts Matter.... Experts predict that creativity, problem solving, critical thinking, collaboration and innovation are all skills that will increase in importance for members of the 21th century U.S. workforce. "People who prefer conventional work environments are likely to see their jobs disappear. But those who are comfortable working in artistic, investigative, highly social, or entrepreneurial environments are likely to succeed," (Source: Workforce Skills Commission of the National Center on EDUCATION and the Economy) Due to the narrow curriculum scope of “No Child Left Behind” and state budget constraints, we already are doing an excellent job of creating a generation of pencil pushers. Employers, however, are demanding creative problem solvers… not pencil pushers. Including the arts in the classroom does help students use their imagination muscle and help them explore different possibilities…including an appreciation for different perspectives and different solutions. In our economy, imaginative thinkers help create wealth. Creating wealth means creating jobs. Pencil pushers are just another cog in the wheel. As our global economy becomes more and more dynamic their role will lose standing, not gain.
Andromeda October 16, 2012 at 05:32 PM
Eligibilty for art's class should be contingent upon the student's ability to read, write, communicate (in english), add, subtract, divide and multiply effectively. Attain proficiency in the basics then you can learn to paint and dance. Plus, this would incentivize the kids to learn the basics faster and reward them for their efforts. Pretty simple actually.
MFriedrich October 17, 2012 at 12:59 PM
In China, one of major global economic competitors, the public schools system there dedicates 2 class hours to art education per week for students (fine art, crafts, painting, singing, music). They also passed a law in 1994 requiring 1 class hour of art appreciation classes at the secondary education level. We should do what works of course, and clearly the comparative US failures with math, science and reading resonate with me. Concerning excellence in education and global economic competitiveness, the US should not throw art into the dust bin. We still have some competitive advantage with respect to the arts because of our Bill of Rights, and because some of the industries that have evolved from our artistic freedoms (video game industry, movie industry, music industry). There's no dispute whether the US leads in these markets, but there's growing competition.

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