Focus Areas

Champions for Arts Education

Parents know: The arts matter.

That’s why parents and PTA members consistently rate arts education as a priority. And based on that, California State PTA continues to advocate for a complete education that includes the arts for every child.


California State PTA adopted the Declaration of the Rights of All Students to Equity in Arts Learning to reaffirm its commitment to a full curriculum that includes the arts. California State PTA connects families, schools and communities and is the nation’s largest volunteer child-advocacy association working to improve the education, health and welfare of all children with the motto “every child, one voice.”

“Parents know, the arts matter. Arts learning is an essential part of a comprehensive education for all students,” said California State PTA President Justine Fischer. “And California State PTA will continue our work to make sure the vital voice of parents is heard — loud and clear — in support of the arts.”


Arts-Education Data Program Helps Advocacy Efforts

artsed_dataproject_webAll students in California deserve the opportunity to enroll in high quality arts education curriculum that will provide them with the important skills they need to succeed in today’s competitive workforce. But up until now, we lacked the tools to show us where (and how) arts education is offered across the state. That’s why Create CA, the California Department of Education and the Arts Education Data Project have joined together to provide a new suite of tools to help increase participation and ensure student success in arts education.

The Data Project is designed to increase participation in arts education across the state by analyzing and reporting school-level data on arts education courses and grades 6 through 12 enrollment. It provides important information to education leaders, teachers and parents about levels of access to and enrollment in arts courses in schools.

See and share the data and related resources with your school community!


Heroes for arts education

We believe all California children need and deserve quality arts-education programs.

We work to make sure the vital voice of parents is heard — loud and clear — in support of the arts. Our SMARTS Parents for the Arts Network raises awareness about the relevance of the arts in increasing academic achievement, building a vibrant, productive society and providing opportunities to share best practices. Join our network and sign up for our every-other-month newsletter!


And together with the California County Superintendents Educational Services Association, California State PTA launched an exciting new activity to promote the importance of arts education with the “Be a Hero for Arts Education” poster designed by artist Nicolás Sánchez. The poster includes information about PTA, CCSESA and key issues in arts education.


ArtsFlierSuccessful arts education programs share basic key elements and are responsive to and reflective of their community. The time is now to encourage your school district to look at arts education as a significant strategy to address student engagement and achievement in California schools. Download, print and share this great resource with parents, families, administrators and your school community.



Find out more about how you can get involved by downloading information about becoming an arts-education lead at your school.



The new Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) provides a great opportunity for parents and teachers to let decision makers know how important the arts are to learning. School districts must engage parents, teachers and local communities in creating a Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP). These plans describe goals and specific measures the district will take in each of eight state priority areas, including providing students with access to required areas of study such as the arts. Ask these five questions to make sure your district knows the importance of an arts education plan, dedicated resources, and a way to measure progress.

As PTA leaders and members, we can lead the way to a quality education for all children that includes the arts! So here are key questions you should ask your school and district leaders about arts education as your school board decides how to allocate money:

  1. Does our school have a quality arts program? What is currently being offered at our school? In our district? Finding this out will lay the groundwork for what you need to do next. Use the Insider’s Guide to Arts Education step-by-step guide for assistance.
  2. How can arts education best be integrated into the district’s Local Control and Accountability Plan? What programs should every child receive? How will the district provide these? Ask questions to find out whether your school district is making a long-term commitment to support arts in the curriculum.
  3. Are the arts included in professional development for Common Core State Standards? The state is giving districts additional money to prepare teachers for new state standards, called Common Core State Standards. Is our district including lessons on how to integrate the arts into language arts, math, science and history?
  4. Does our school district use its Title 1 money to support arts education? The U.S. Department of Education has released guidance stating, “Activities that support the arts, in conjunction with other activities, can form an important part of an LEA’s Title I program.”
  5. How can the district use Local Control Funding money to provide arts education for low-income students, English-Language Learners and foster youth? Arts education is listed as one of the state priorities for the new funding formula. Research shows the arts are a powerful tool that helps children– especially our most needy students– succeed.

A recent study from the National Endowment for the Arts shows that students with a high level of arts engagement from kindergarten through sixth grade have higher test scores in writing and science by their eighth-grade year; another NEA study found students living in poverty are more likely to graduate, vote and attend college if they have access to the arts as part of a complete education. An additional NEA study reviews how creativity works in the brain, emphasizing the need for more arts education.

Arts-Education Strategies in California LCAPs

artseducation_lcfftoolkitThe Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) offers historic opportunities for school districts to set new, locally-driven priorities aimed at improving outcomes for students who are often underserved in public schools. Arts education aligns with LCFF goals and contributes to a set of unique skills and outcomes that are shown to help students succeed in school and in life.

In the coming weeks and months, districts will be updating their Local Control Accountability Plans (LCAP) to determine priorities and funding for the coming years. The California Alliance for Arts Education in partnership with Arts for LA and LA County’s Arts for All has created a set of materials and trainings to empower advocates to contribute to these important conversations, educating officials about the benefits of arts education. Check out helpful LCAP advocacy materials courtesy of the California Alliance for Arts Education, of which California State PTA is a member.

Arts Education — It Makes a Difference!

Be sure to also take a look at a video from the California Alliance for Arts Education on how arts education is being implemented — and making a difference — in California schools.