Proposition 28: Arts & music education funding

Submitted by Catalina Villegas / Community Journalism 

The upcoming 2022 election poses a critical upswing in state funding to the arts and music programs in K-12 schools. If passing, Proposition 28 would require a minimum of 1% of total state and local revenues to be granted to these education agencies. This would alter the arts and music status in increased spending from $800 million to $1 billion each fiscal year. 

Voting yes would also require schools with 500 or more students to use 80% of the funding for employing teachers and 20% for training and materials. This would allow for an expansive reach of these subject programs for further employment and interest on students. The current limited financing of these subjects has affected the K-12 programs deeply. 

The proponents details some of the issues: 90% of elementary schools in California fail to provide a high quality course of study across arts disciplines, 96% of middle schools don’t provide a high quality course of study across arts disciplines, and 72% of high schools don’t include high quality curriculum across arts disciplines 

The official supporters of Proposition 28 include local school board members as well as high profile celebrities, among several organizations such as the Los Angeles Unified School

District, California Dance Education and California Educational Theater organized by the Vote Arts & Minds campaign. Joining the noted yes voters is former official U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan (D) and highlighted political parties such as the Democratic Party of California. To reach a broader listening audience, actor, writer, producer Issa Rae explains the needed ballot measure would positively reflect in the low income communities and marginalized students who would positively benefit from the access to arts education. 

Met with surprisingly little opposition for a funding initiative, there were no formal submitted arguments against 28. The only noted opponent is the organization Reform California. His chairman, Carl DeMaio argues that “Prop 28 sounds good on the surface — more funding for arts and music — but the language is fatally flawed to allow diversion of funding from other education programs that are already not meeting the performance goals we’ve set.” 

The supporters of Proposition 28 insist that its passing would allow further inclusion in school programs and increase in attendance and overall boosted classroom morale. It would dramatically alter art departments into a properly suited environment for students to improve cognitive development and spatial reasoning.

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