Arts education loses again in Sacramento; bill favoring career training advances in Senate
After being shut out in three votes in the state Assembly, arts advocates at last got a legislator to side with them about keeping an already thin arts-education requirement from being further diluted in California public high schools.
The bill, AB 2446, would allow students to blow off an existing minimum graduation requirement -- a year of arts or a foreign language -- in favor of taking a year of jobs-preparation instead. The Senate education committee voted 5-1 on Wednesday in favor of the new approach, with committee chair Gloria Romero (D-Los Angeles) providing the vote in opposition. Two others abstained.
Before the vote, Laurie Schell, executive director of the California Alliance for Arts Education, testified that arts learning promotes the same objectives as the technical education that the bill aims to promote: giving students more incentive to stay in school, while acquiring skills useful in careers.
The Senate's appropriations committee will take up the bill next.
"We will continue to make our case in opposition," Schell said in a blog entry headlined "A David and Goliath Story." The arts lobby is squaring off against opposition that includes two statewide teachers' unions and the California PTA.
-- Mike Boehm
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Photo: State Sen. Gloria Romero. Credit: Diandra Jay / Associated Press