The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors has long advocated for the importance of the arts in public education. In 2002, the Supervisors unanimously adopted the Los Angeles County Regional Blueprint for Arts Education which established the LA County Arts Ed Collective as a part of the Los Angeles County Arts Commission. The Arts Ed Collective was directed to work with the Office of Education to ensure that LA County’s 1.5 million public school students receive high-quality arts education. Sixteen years later, in a motion co-authored by Supervisors Hilda L. Solis and Sheila Kuehl, the Board of Supervisors has reaffirmed its commitment to the arts and adopted the Declaration of the Rights of All Students to Equity in Arts Learning (The Declaration).
The Declaration was put forth by California’s statewide arts education coalition, CreateCA, and has been adopted by a number of school districts across the state. It outlines the rights of all students to a high-quality arts education, regardless of race, culture, language, religion, national origin, place of residence, socioeconomic or legal status. However, supported in part by a study completed by the Arts Education Collective, Los Angeles County has become the first municipality to adopt The Declaration. The study concludes that while most schools in Los Angeles County have some arts education, access to quality arts education, especially for lower income students and students of color, is not equitable. By adopting The Declaration, the Board of Supervisors ensures that the importance of access to quality arts education is communicated across all levels of Los Angeles County government, and that steps are taken to address the disparity. In fact, a result of the Supervisors’ adoption of this motion, the Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE), has followed suit. Most significantly, the passage of this motion creates opportunities for equitable access to arts education through partnerships with multiple County departments, extending the reach of the work facilitated by the Arts Ed Collective.