-Featured image by Vanessa Loring
Written by Bella Richmond, Intern, Met Sacramento High School
March is California’s Arts Education month and I am researching what high school students think about arts education and what our community can do to make sure it is funded in Sacramento schools. My name is Bella, and I am a junior in high school. Now that the world is opening up, students need tools to heal and catch up in school. Arts education includes dance, music, theater, visual arts and digital arts, and it can have a massive impact on a student’s life. One study, from the George Mason University Arts Research center, found that after all variables were accounted for, students enrolled in the arts performed better academically than those who were not. Since 1995, the California Education Code requires that schools must teach students visual and performing arts. The truth is, many schools are not meeting this requirement. This first article, and the ones to come, will increase awareness about the lack of arts education in schools and provide some ideas for the Sacramento community about what they can do to advocate for the arts in school.
To properly research this topic, I am first going to the students and then experts who can help find how students, educators, and parents can improve arts education together. A survey is being sent to Sacramento City Unified School District (SCUSD) high school students on arts education exposure and experiences. The participating high schools are: Hiram Johnson, West Campus, Sacramento High, C.K. McClatchy, Kennedy, Luther Burbank, Rosemont, and the Met. The findings of the survey will be published in a follow-up article to this one. To give special insight into current arts education policy and resources for people to do their own advocacy, I will be interviewing representatives from the Sacramento County Office of Education (SCOE). They can provide special insight into current arts education policy and resources for people to do their own advocacy. Details from their interview will be published in the third article in this set, which will include information on how individuals can make a difference in arts education. For highlights of the interviews, a short video will be published to the AccessLocal.TV website.
Youth benefit emotionally and academically from arts education, and in the next article, the youth’s voice will be heard. It is commonly acknowledged that arts funding is usually the first to be cut during budget slashes, so I am going directly to the students to see if they think their art education is adequate. The survey results can help inform people as to what their children are actually learning and how widespread arts education really is in SCUSD. I will ask the SCOE representatives about their thoughts on the survey and if it matches up to what they would predict for the district. Arts are often praised for their importance in teaching children creative and emotional skills, but there is a disconnect between that view and the prevalence of arts education in schools. In my next article, I will discuss the results of the survey and continue to bring more awareness to the public about arts education in Sacramento high schools.
Bella Richmond is a junior at the Met Sacramento High School, and she is interning with the Tower of Youth two days a week at Capsity Oak Park. Bella is also a contributing Youth Media Reporter for AccessLocal.TV.