Arts education on the ballot: Between Prop 28 and the campaign to boost K-12 spending by $800 million.|

Arts education on the ballot: Between Prop 28 and the campaign to boost K-12 spending by 0 million.|

Students from San Pedro High School walked with former Los Angeles schools superintendent Austin Beutner on Oct. 2 to the campaign for the introduction of Art and Music in Schools. (Linda Jacobson/74 years old)

Walking down a busy street in San Pedro, a suburb of Los Angeles, students waved signs above their heads and urged passing cars to support their cause. “Honk for 28!” they shouted. “Go to 28.”

The rally was about California’s Proposition 28, a ballot measure aimed at pumping at least $800 million into K-12 arts and music programs.

It comes with an interesting selling point: It won’t increase taxes. That’s one reason no one is raising money to defeat the measure — a relief to former Los Angeles schools chief Austin Beutner, who has led efforts to get the question on the ballot. provided $4 million for a reason.

As a manager, he and the labor unions often clashed. But on that first day in October, union members joined him to ask the managers of the sandwich shop and breakfast place to hang campaign signs in their windows.

“We just want to make sure people know what Prop 28 is,” Beutner said, adding he was encouraged by the positive reception the measure has received. “It’s been a long time since we’ve had the California community support public education.”

From New Mexico to Massachusetts, voters will decide on several education-related measures when they go to the polls Nov. 8. Many propose raising taxes for additional school funds, but others can decide whether all students should receive free meals or whether they are legislators. it can override the state board’s policy.

However, California’s arts scene is at a higher level, attracting support from some of the biggest names in the entertainment industry. To promote this project, Beutner shared the stage with singers Dr. Dre and Lil Baby. In San Pedro, “Lord of the Rings” actor Sean Astin got involved.

“Our members fully support art and music education in schools. That’s what we’ve built our lives and our careers on,” said Astin, who represents the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists. “We think that every child, every student it’s worth it [to be] exposed to art and music in their public schools.”

Actor Sean Astin, right, joined Austin Beutner and students to campaign for Proposition 28. (Linda Jacobson/The 74)

‘The biggest impact’

Twenty-three countries now provide grant money for arts education or owning an art school, according to the Arts Education Partnership, a project of the Education Commission of the States. But generally, states don’t need to fund them, said Mary Dell’Erba, the Partnership’s assistant director. Some countries support the arts through license fees or lottery grants.

Proposition 28 is unique, he said, not only because of the amount of money it will generate, but what comes first puts arts money in the state budget.

It’s called Art and Music in Schools, the degree may require that The 1% above what the government is legally required to spend on education is directed to the arts. In years of declining incomes, funding would not decrease more than the general K-12 budget.

Eighty percent of the funds would go to art teachers. Although all schools would receive funding, 30% would target low-income schools.

For Malissa Shriver, chairwoman of Turnaround Arts: California — a nonprofit that supports school improvement through the arts — it’s huge. When his program started, he said it was difficult to find schools that meet the needs of the organization to recruit teachers with art degrees.

He credited Beutner with “knowing how money comes from administrative costs” and for designing the proposal “in a way that will have the greatest impact.” Only 1% can be used for administration and the rest can go to equipment or teacher training.

He argues that together with students’ access to math and readingCreative expression can help students reconnect socially and emotionally after months of isolation.

But even if the measure passes, it will face problems. One is for workers.

“Just because there is a need for teachers to be funded does not mean that there will be teachers to hire,” Dell’Erba said.

Others editorial writers they criticized the measure as a “ballot box budget measure” and said the state shouldn’t be telling local school boards how to spend money.

‘Be what we want to be’

Beutner’s struggle stems from his own experience. A shy elementary school student, she gained confidence after learning to play the cello in fifth grade.

Austin Beutner played string bass in high school. (Courtesy of Austin Beutner)

He said: “I could sing in front of thousands of people before I could speak in front of tens of people. It all started with that sense of worth.

The San Pedro High 12th graders who campaigned with her that day – some in cheerleading uniforms, others holding handmade signs – agreed.

Miki Vasquez, a senior, said art and music “allow us to be who we want to be.”

Austin Beutner and Esther Hatch, who work at two Los Angeles Unified schools and have a son in 12th grade at San Pedro High, talked the Omelette and Waffle Shop manager into putting a sign in the window. (Linda Jacobson/74 years old)

Chris Soto said he would take a guitar class if it was available. And Isabella Menzel, the first campaigner, exclaimed, “This is the happiest I’ve ever been.”

Another student brought copies of “Lord of the Rings” for Astin to sign. After singing with the students for a few blocks, Astin quickly left. Now a graduate student at American University in Washington, studying public administration and policy, she said she has homework to do. “I have an interview due in six hours.”

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