Focus Areas

Parents Know: The Arts Matter


Three Ways to Support Arts Education

  1. Join CreateCA! Learn more about California’s movement for arts education at
  2. Have an arts story to share? We’d love to connect and hear your story. Fill out the submission form.
  3. Check out your local community theatres, county arts commissions, and museums for more events near you.

Demand Arts Education for Every Student

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.

Every student has the right to a dynamic, creative education, and California Education Code requires it. Yet 88 percent of California schools are failing to meet this standard. This. Must. Change. That’s why California State PTA joined forces with Create CA to launch one of the most impactful public will campaigns for the arts in recent history to demand arts education for all students.


Simply put – creativity is not optional! The goal of the campaign is to spark a movement with the public, parents, educators, artists and policy makers to demand a comprehensive, sequential arts curriculum for all children in grades K-12.

The campaign brings awareness to demand a quality education for every student in California, and is currently building a base of engaging, passionate people – on the local level – across the state. Join California’s movement for arts education. Sign up at

Public Will Campaign Resources for PTA Leaders

Download and print these fun visuals for your next PTA meeting. Take pictures, post online using the #createca and #PTA4Kids hashtags and let your voice be heard to demand an arts education for every student!


California State PTA in partnership with Create CA is pleased to launch the Parents’ Guide to the Visual and Performing Arts in California Public Schools. This guide provides an overview of what your child will learn in the arts disciplines of dance, music, theatre and the visual arts by the end of each grade level.

By asking about the arts program at your child’s school, you are showing your interest in all students, not just the “talented,” having the opportunity to express their unique individuality through creating and learning in and through the arts.

The information is grouped into four sections:

Download the full guide:


Learn more about how to read the Parents’ Guide to the Visual and Performing Arts in California Public Schools (commonly referred to as the “VAPA Guide”) and how to use it with this informative webinar.

NEW! Downloadable poster with creative industry career possibilities, including the new standard of media arts. Download here and share with your school community!


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.”

“As a parent myself, I know for a fact that the arts matter. Arts education is so crucial to a well-rounded, comprehensive education for all students,” said California State PTA President Dianna MacDonald. “I am proud to be a part of an organization that works hard to make sure parents’ voices are 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 art courses in schools.

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





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 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 training 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.