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California Department of Education
News Release
Release: #15-10
January 29, 2015
Contact: Communications
Phone: 916-319-0818

State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson's Arts Education Task Force Submits Recommendations to Restore the Arts to California Classrooms

SACRAMENTO—An arts education task force formed by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson is calling for arts education to be elevated to a core subject and be available to all students so it can retain its vital role in developing creative expression and critical thinking skills in preparation for 21st century careers.

"We have been extremely fortunate to have such a knowledgeable and creative group committed to helping our state rebuild its infrastructure for arts education," Torlakson said.                   

"The picture they paint is one of a relevant, robust, and dynamic curriculum to keep kids in schools, narrow the achievement gap, and give students an opportunity to discover and develop their individual talents. But they also highlight the need to make certain all students have access to arts education so they can explore their own artistic vision," he said.

The 30-page summary report, A Blueprint for Creative Schools (PDF; 1MB), was compiled by Torlakson's 100-member Blueprint for Creative Schools Task Force that he formed in 2012. This is a streamlined version of the full 118-page report, meant to highlight the Task Force's important work.

"We are pleased to submit this report to Superintendent Torlakson," said Sarah Anderberg, chair of the CREATE CA Leadership Council. "It distills more than two years of important ground work and lays the foundation for implementing a 21st century model for schools in which arts and creativity become central components."

Torlakson appointed the Task Force in partnership with a broad coalition of agencies and organizational partners on an education reform movement called CREATE (Core Reforms Engaging Arts to Educate) CA. This Task Force included representatives from the five CREATE CA partners—the California Department of Education (CDE), California Arts Council, California Alliance for Arts Education, California County  Superintendents Educational Services Association, and the California PTA—and many other groups, experts, and industry leaders from around the state.

Torlakson charged the Task Force with providing advice in seven policy areas. The resulting work groups made key recommendations about how to resolve the difficult issues facing the arts in schools while keeping in mind the state's financial realities.

The Task Force made a series of policy recommendations to enhance arts education. The resulting document is divided into sections that address key themes and critical issues:

  • Supporting the Arts Curriculum.
  • Enhancing Educator Quality, Preparation, and Professional Learning in the Arts.
  • Producing High-Quality Arts Assessment, Research, and Evidence.
  • Ensuring Equity and Access.
  • Strengthening Collaborative Relationships.
  • Expanding the Role of Business and Industry in the Creative Workforce.
  • Providing Funding for the Arts.

A Blueprint for Creative Schools will be discussed at a public convening led by CREATE CA tomorrow and Saturday in Oakland.

The Blueprint may be found on the CDE Web site at the bottom of the Arts Education Task Force Web page. For additional information please visit CREATE CA [] External link opens in new window or tab..

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Tom Torlakson — State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Communications Division, Room 5602, 916-319-0818, Fax 916-319-0100

Last Reviewed: Thursday, October 8, 2020
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