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California Department of Education
News Release
Release: #16-81
December 5, 2016
Contact: Communications
Phone: 916-319-0818

State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Supports New Legislation to Promote Media Arts Education

SACRAMENTO— Legislation introduced Monday will help California showcase its role as a world leader by improving media arts education so students will be better prepared for jobs in movies, animation, video games, virtual reality, and other media arts fields, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced.

Torlakson sponsored AB 37, which Assemblymember Patrick O’Donnell introduced Monday. This is the first day bills can be introduced for the start of the 2017-2018 legislative session. O’Donnell, D-Long Beach, is Chair of the Assembly Education Committee.

“This is an exciting step forward to improve our students’ education in the fascinating and creative world of media arts,” said Torlakson, who started his public service career as a high school teacher and coach. “I want to thank Assemblymember O’Donnell for introducing this measure and preparing students for media arts opportunities in 21st century careers and college.”

“Classes in media arts teach young people how to express themselves creatively using the technology of today and the emerging technologies of the future,” O’Donnell said.  “As a world leader in technological innovation, California should have strong programs in our schools that foster these valuable and increasingly marketable artistic skills.”

Updated media arts standards will help teachers improve their practices and set rigorous learning expectations for students. Media arts has six categories: animation, cinema, digital sound production, imaging design, interactive design, and virtual design.

For example, new standards could require students to design 3D models of human settlement on Mars, complete with agricultural and energy production, and designs for architecture, transportation, tools, and clothing.

Students will also learn how to collaborate, be flexible and adaptive, and work in teams, Torlakson said. Employers value all those skills.

The creative industry in California produces about $375 billion in economic value and employs 1.6 million people, according to a May 2016 report that the Otis College of Art and Design prepared for the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation.

AB 37 requires Torlakson to select a group of expert elementary and second secondary school teachers who will recommend standards—what students are expected to learn—for media arts education.

Torlakson and the Instructional Quality Commission, an 18-member panel of education experts, will conduct public hearings and report by November 2018 to the State Board of Education. The Board will vote on the recommendations and, if approved, adopt the standards.

The bill will be assigned for legislative committee hearings in the next few months. If the Legislature passes the bill and the Governor signs it in 2017, AB 37 will take effect on January 1, 2018.

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

Last Reviewed: Friday, March 13, 2020
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