CAAE blog archive is located here.

Investing in Arts Education to Advance California’s Creative Industry

The academic and social value of the arts is well-documented, and researchers now recognize an economic value.  Leaders and employees of successful businesses and organizations in today’s creative economy utilize creativity, think critically, respect diverse viewpoints, and collaborate effectively.  These are skills developed through arts education.  California’s creative industry—one of the largest in the world—can certainly benefit from effective arts education programs in California schools.  

A new research study asserts that even in the midst of educational and financial struggles, it is essential for California to invest in the arts in order to flourish within a culturally diverse, economically successful, and highly competitive global community. Investing in Arts Education to Advance California’s Creative Industry, a study by Kurt Whitman, analyzes the current role of arts education in the context of law and policy and includes a proposed course of action to more effectively fund and instruct the arts in California. Read the study. 

Mark Slavkin's TED Talk Makes the Case for a Creativity Index

California Alliance Board Chair Mark Slavkin, was one of the featured speakers at TEDx Manhattan Beach on October 22, 2011. He described how the No Child Left Behind law has narrowed the curriculum and made it more difficult to provide quality arts education programs. He proposed the development of a new “creativity index” to hold schools accountable for more than just math and reading test scores. Watch the video. 

The Alliance is working to broaden school assessments with the introduction of SB 789 (Price), the Creative and Innovation Education Index.  This index would provide a tangible way to measure and inspire opportunities for creativity and innovation in our public schools. 

In a state where creativity and innovation have been so critical to our economic strength, the bill affirms that California remains a leader in forging a path to the future for its students. A similar “Creative Challenge Index” has been signed into law in Massachusetts and is under consideration in Wisconsin, Oklahoma, Rhode Island and Illinois. Read more about the Creativity Index.

School Assessments Should Go Beyond Standardized Tests

SB 789 (Price) Moving Forward

With your help, SB 789 (Price) passed on the Senate Floor. It is now making its way through the Assembly. It was heard and passed in the Assembly Education Committee on June 13, 2012. It was placed on the suspense calendar by the Appropriations Committee until August 16. We are now working with Senator Price to move the bill out of committee onto the Assembly floor, where the entire assembly can vote on the issue. 

SB 789 (Price), The Index for Creative and Innovative Education, is an opportunity to advance the conversation about how schools and students are evaluated. 

Sponsored by the California Alliance for Arts Education and authored by Senator Curren Price, SB 789 would create an index to measure student opportunities for creativity and innovation in schools. If passed, it would provide a tangible way to measure and inspire learning opportunities that nurture creativity and innovation in our public schools.

What's for breakfast? What's Breakfast for?

On a recent Thursday morning, a group of forty people gathered in San Francisco for a breakfast of grits, sausage and greens. It was a special occasion; it was a chance for parents, teachers, elected officials, school officials and artists to talk about how they could work together to support arts education in local public schools; it was also the launch of the thirtieth coalition in the Alliance’s Local Advocacy Network. 

Ten Salient Studies on the Arts in Education offers digests and links to ten recent studies about the impact of arts in education. Reports by research organizations, college professors and school districts themselves reveal the power of art to inspire, motivate and educate today’s students." Read the studies. 

Strategies for Local Advocacy

No sooner did we finish writing a handbook for our Local Advocacy Network (affectionately named the LANBook), then new challenges emerged from the work being done on the ground. Three years into the project, we are twenty-five coalitions strong and, as more and more communities join our statewide network, they bring unique circumstances that generate new strategies. From South Bay to San Jose, here are some of the approaches advocates are using to support arts education in local schools:

  • School Board Meetings: The South Bay Alliance made sure a member of their team was present at each and every town hall and school board meeting last year. Through frequent communication within the team, they presented a consistent message to the Board and met new decision points with solutions.

New Study on Cultural Vitality and Economic Development

“Building Community, Making Space for Art,” new study released in October by Maria Rosario Jackson of the Urban Institute, sheds new light on the relationship between “dimensions of cultural vitality” and “economic development, attachment to place, positive health outcomes, and civic engagement, among other desirable impacts.” The research parses the kinds of organizations and activities that contribute most to community revitalization. Read more.

Innovative Strategies for Local Advocacy

No sooner did we finish writing a handbook for our Local Advocacy Network (affectionately named the LANBook), then new challenges emerged from the work being done on the ground.

What Can a Website Do (Welcome to ours!)

We were just going to make a few changes to our website. Add a new section about local advocacy. Simplify our action center. And then, as often happens when you begin adding new elements to something, the whole thing changed. 

As we explored questions about goals and possibilities, the scope of the project grew. We discovered new web platforms that made it easy to add new elements and content. We heard from local advocates and stakeholders like you that you wanted easy ways to participate online and to find the research and tools you need to make the case for arts education in your community.


So today we launch a fully re-designed website! Here are some of the things it can do: 

1. It provides an online home for the twenty-five coalitions in our Local Advocacy Network and more opportunities for you to post comments, ask questions and participate. 
2. The new Action Center provides an array of grab and go advocacy tools from Three Minute Actions to three-week projects. And, we’ve simplified the navigation (and even made out font size larger per your request) so you can find what you’re looking for quickly and easily. 

Are We Preparing Students to Innovate and Succeed in a Global Economy?

On July 10, 2010, a Newsweek headline provocatively proclaimed that the United States was in “The Creativity Crisis,” citing evidence that shows for the first time in 50 years, American creativity is on the decline. In a global economy where innovation drives prosperity, the United States faces increasing competition from around the world in maintaining its competitiveness.