Los Angeles is best known for being the epicenter of the film and music industries, and for drawing talent from around the world to work in those industries. So you’d think that local schools would put an emphasis on arts education, in order to help children develop their talents in order to work in their hometown. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Based on information from L.A. Unified School District, the L.A. Times determined that only 35 out of the more than 700 schools in the city would get an “A” on their arts programs.
L.A. schools, especially the poorer ones, aren’t able to provide a quality arts education, which is pretty ironic considering the arts are the whole reason L.A. is as major a city as it is. There’s likely a number of reasons that problem exists, mostly lack of funding, but likely also a result of the overwhelming emphasis on standardized tests in determining that funding.
Fortunately, a number of local nonprofits have stepped in to try and help out. To date, over 50 groups around the city have stepped in to help more than 130 schools develop better arts programs. They can help in a variety of ways, from donating materials to volunteer teaching and mentoring. Anything helps. Arts education has been shown, time and time again, to be generally beneficial to students even in other subjects. And in a city where everything revolves around film and music, learning how to light a set or record music could be the difference between a successful career and struggling to make ends meet. It’s not a cheap city, after all.
The partnerships between schools and nonprofits are already starting to make a difference for L.A. school children, but there are still plenty of schools that could use help. Next time you’re looking to support a nonprofit, or finding a new partner for your charity, think about those kids.