Joe Landon

Joe Landon

The new Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) recognizes the critical role parents play in the education of their children – and embeds it into law by requiring parents’ input into local school district budgets and accountability plans.

We are excited about the opportunities for parents, educators and school board members to talk more frequently with each other, listen to each other, and work more collaboratively to help all students succeed.

Parents understand how their children learn and what motivates them to succeed. Through the new funding formula, parents now have a true opportunity to articulate what matters to them to their local school boards, as well as to inform the school districts’ goals for all students, and the programs and services they’d like to see to help achieve them.

And what matters to parents? For one thing, parents overwhelmingly support exposure to the arts throughout the curriculum because they witness firsthand the impact of the arts in the lives of their children, reaching hidden talents and building confidence. They recognize the way the arts connect people more deeply to the world and open them to new ways of seeing.

Colleen-You-180x214

Colleen A.R. You

We believe the arts are essential for a creative, engaged, work-prepared and civic-minded student population. The arts are a critical link to learning success.

That sentiment of parents is echoed by business leaders who understand the needs of the workforce. Joseph Calahan, Vice President of Xerox Corporation, observed: “Arts education aids students in skills needed in the workplace: flexibility, the ability to solve problems and communicate, the ability to learn new skills, to be creative and innovative, and to strive for excellence.”

In the coming months, as school boards seek input and develop their Local Control and Accountability Plans (LCAPs), parents will be raising questions: What is a quality arts program and do our students have access to it? Are the arts included in professional development for Common Core State Standards? How can the district use its additional LCFF money to provide access to arts education for low-income students, English Language Learners and foster youth?

Districts will have much to accomplish and address in their LCAPs across the eight identified state priority areas, but we know the arts can and should factor into most of those areas.

There is evidence throughout the state that districts are already responding to the voice of parents. Earlier this year, Michael Hanson, superintendent of Fresno Unified School District, wrote, “The arts are essential to a well-rounded education for our students, expanding their thinking and experiences in ways that simply cannot be achieved by any other avenue.” The school board responded by allotting an additional $1 million investment in the arts, which has yielded more than 1,000 new musical instruments, new equipment for visual and performing arts, as well as new arts teaching positions and professional development in schools throughout the district.

We are entering a new era in education with greater parent engagement and more local decision-making authority. It’s an opportunity for parents to communicate what matters to them and their children – including access to the arts – and an opportunity for local school board officials to receive that input and to integrate its perspective into the specifics of their local plans. When parents have more of a say, that’s good news for the future of the arts in our schools.

•••

Joe Landon is executive director of California Alliance for Arts Education and Colleen A.R. You is president of the California State PTA.


Join the conversation by going to Edsource's Twitter or Facebook pages. If you do not have a social media account, you can learn how to create a Twitter account here and a Facebook account here.

  1. Don 2 years ago2 years ago

    You started this post with an accolade for the new parent engagement requirements (LCAP) in LCFF. As you probably know, these have yet to be defined. But wouldn't it be great if only it were true? Surely collaborative school site governance for a school's administration and community would be a positive for school improvement, not only in terms of brbolstering resources, but also in terms of oversight and accountability. There's only one problem: … Read More

    You started this post with an accolade for the new parent engagement requirements (LCAP) in LCFF. As you probably know, these have yet to be defined. But wouldn’t it be great if only it were true? Surely collaborative school site governance for a school’s administration and community would be a positive for school improvement, not only in terms of brbolstering resources, but also in terms of oversight and accountability. There’s only one problem: since the 70’s we’ve had school site councils and to this day it is very hard to get the administration, the community or both to actively participate in a meaningful way. Most school districts barely pay any heed to the current state and federal parent engagement law. Without a true change in culture, what makes you think it will be any different under LCFF? Students, parents and the community at a large, while the consumers of education (so to speak), remain virtually powerless within an institution that is ruled by established and powerful bureaucracies and unions. I have no reason to believe that will change by having more control at the district level. Had Governor Brown not decided to forego direct school site funding and given schools themselves more power under LCFF, we might have had an opportunity for the third rail of students and parents to be a force. Instead it’s business as usual.

    So what we are likely to see are district taking the base grants and redistributing funding based upon their own notions of equity. Any chance for a true per pupil minimum was lost when Brown caved to the powerful forces that balked at any plan to increase the power of parents in the process.

  2. Roger Fahr 2 years ago2 years ago

    What will be different? It seems like school districts will be doing more of the same: parent advisory group, now an LCAP advisory committee, etc. This is called "Local Control" and my assumption is that schools should be telling districts what they need. Parents do not have all the answers. Districts that are not surveying every school they serve for their individual needs (SSCs including the principal would be an ideal vehicle) … Read More

    What will be different? It seems like school districts will be doing more of the same: parent advisory group, now an LCAP advisory committee, etc. This is called “Local Control” and my assumption is that schools should be telling districts what they need. Parents do not have all the answers. Districts that are not surveying every school they serve for their individual needs (SSCs including the principal would be an ideal vehicle) could be implementing their community meetings, as usual, to justify decisions that they have already made.
    I would like to see LCAPs be drafted as a result of a survey at the school site level, with input from individual school communities versus a “district” advisory board.
    Funds allocated on the basis of enrollment and supplemental funds for subgroups would then be used for SCHOOL-level support.
    My two cents.

  3. el 2 years ago2 years ago

    I hope someone will have the time and mandate to read all 1000 or so LCAPs and see what common themes emerge and compare and contrast different approaches. It could create an interesting snapshot of what parents think is important, and also which districts were able to engage parents in the process.

    Replies

    • navigio 2 years ago2 years ago

      Assuming they put them online, I will try.

Template last modified: