Russian-born and int’ly recognized pianist, composer, educator, author and
founder/artistic director of Non-Profit Foundation “C.H.A.R.I.S.M.A.:
Community Helping to Assure the Rescue, Inspiration and Support for Music and the Arts”
CALL TO THE MEMBERS OF CA STATE ASSEMBLY’S APPROPRIATION COMMITTEE
TO STRONGLY OPPOSE BILL AB 2446 (by FURUTANI, 55th district)
>>>URGENT AND IMPORTANT!<<< >>>URGENT AND IMPORTANT!<<< Government funding for well-balanced education for millions of CA public school students: to remain “required by law” or to turn into one of the “electives”?
The following quite improbable story could have easily worked as a memorable joke of a comedian, except it is very sad for the reason of being not just a true story… In fact, it is very hard to laugh about it, after realizing that it is about actual and repeated attempt by the elected official to institute a law that administers the logistics and curricula for education in all public schools of CA, thus impacting the lives of millions of California’s children and their families of generations to come:
In Winter 2010 CA State Assembly member Furutani (CA 55th district, Long Beach, LA, CA) once again proposed to approve legislation (infamous Bill #2446) that according to his believes, would "help" reducing the astonishing 47% high school dropout rate in CA public schools. Mr. Furutani explained that his action to create “research-informed” (in his own version) educational policy was driven by his deep concern about the fact that "high school dropouts indicated that they were not interested or engaged in their coursework" (as misquoted and taken out of context by him from quite reputable studies, made by Bill and Melinda Gates and James Irvine Foundations).
Also, according to Mr. Furutani, "there is a critical need to make the high school curriculum more engaging and relevant." That is exactly why Mr. Furutani must have acted in a “true visionary” manner and eagerly responded by proposing to … eliminate what he sincerely finds to be the most serious “obstacles” to having engagingand relevant educational experience: by turning studies of 1) visual and performing arts (VPA) and 2) foreign languages into mere ELECTIVES in the High School curriculum (vs. currently “REQUIRED FOR GRADUATION”), adding to the SAME group yet one more ELECTIVE to choose(!) from – 3) career technical education (CTE), as if any of these three subjects address similar intelligences and deserve to be grouped into the same category of electives, thus to be considered a substitute of one to another.
Could Mr. Furutani’s actions have been inspired by his constituents of Asian decent, who traditionally place the highest value on high educational pursuits, particularly including refinement in the Arts education?Or, was such “unconventional visionary” ability of Mr. Furutani impeded due to the unfortunate lack of his personal exposure to the beneficial effects of time-tested cognitive technology of the Arts education, well-documented by multiple modern neuroscience research studies? (Revealing data is available in the video “Music Instinct”, produced for PBS by Daniel Levitin/Bobby McFerrin)
It is interesting to note that nothing could stop Mr. Furutani in his continuously repeated pursuits, including the fact that proposed by him drastic lowering of public school standards does NOT resemble university admission requirements, thus preventing public high school graduates from the opportunity to qualify for higher education.He also does not find significant the fact that the process of proper establishment for the proposed by him career technical education (CTE) courses in actuality requires significant investment of funding (up to additional $1.5 million), obviously lacking during current budget deficit…
In fact, while promising easy, yet irrelevant shortcut to a complextask of increasing the percentage of high school graduation, Mr. Furutani successfully found brilliant cover-up to distract his colleagues-legislators from the highly destructive outcome –to turn the GOVERNMENT FUNDING into “ELECTIVE” for already highly underfunded the courses in foreign languages and the creative arts, instead of searching for the creative ways to meet the funding demands for what is currently so inconveniently “REQUIRED BY LAW” to be provided for millions of young students in the country’s most prosperous State of CA.(What a great way to respond to the multitude of looming lawsuits, filed by desperate school districts against the Government’s systematic and lengthy violation of this law!)
Most children of immigrants from other countries already find studying in American public schools significantly less challenging for their already existing learning capacity , established at public schools in the countries of their origin.Even without proposed legislative approval “to lower the bar” for CA educational standards additionally, during recent years United States, the leader in the World economy had to “importing” well-educated and creatively-minded professionals from other parts of the globe, eagerly offering working visas to foreigners, in order to maintain its economic advantage.
Throughout the World, the meaning of High School Diploma universally symbolizes well-rounded multi-faceted educational achievement that is earned through systematic studies of well-balanced curriculum.It will be very sad to see furutani’s succeed in instituting their own much lower intellectual standards for the future members of US workforce, while other countries methodically invest in nurturing their young generation’s advanced multi-tasking cognitive abilities and creative mental skills, that go far beyond mere reading and counting, which can be uniquely afforded through the demanding Arts education curricula for the whole-brain engagement.
Despite all the above deficiencies and thanks to its misleading nature, infamous Furutani’s Bill 2446 was already mistakenly approved by the votes of CA State Assembly members and sent to the Appropriation Committee for the final vote on May 28, 2010.Will the voice of logic finally prevail in the battle for the bright minds of young Californians?Will CA legislators finally understand their responsibility to leave the legacy they can be proud of?
The text of proposed Legislation AB 2446 (Furutani) - please, cut/paste into your browser if the link does not act live:
Contact CA Assembly member Mr. Furutani in order to express your opposition to his actions:
CALL TO THE MEMBERS OF CA STATE ASSEMBLY’S APPROPRIATION COMMITTEE TO STRONGLY OPPOSE BILL AB 2446 (by FURUTANI, 55th district)
Dear Members of the Committee on Appropriation:
Due to the devastating consequences, impacting multitude of young and eager to learn children, I (along with many of my colleagues) find it critical to inform you that the Bill AB 2446 (as currently proposed by Mr. Furutani) may NOT be approved under any circumstances.I believe it may be versed with multitude of errors primarily due to the lack of the capacity for the full understanding of the educational value of effective and time-tested “cognitive technology” of Arts and Music Education.
There is no secret that proposed replacement of the “requirement” for the completion of studies in visual and performing arts with a mere “option” will legalize similarly “optional” funding of already greatly undermined educational opportunities for CA public school students, diminishing already incomparably low educational standards.Thus, without stating it openly, proposed legislation AB 2446 irresponsibly and shamelessly aims to decree the elimination of access to already minuscule curriculum in Arts Education for hundreds thousands of children in CA public schools.
MISTAKEN GROUPING OF “APPLES AND ORANGES” IN THE SAME CATEGORY IS PROPOSED TO SERVE AS A LAW: Cognitive abilities that allow to group the subjects into the same category, based on their similarity is usually acquired in early childhood (unless an individual suffers from developmental disorder…)
Contrary, proposed Bill AB 2446 falsely aims to suggest that school subjects that employ completely different intelligences and have nothing in common, such as 1) studies in visual and performing arts (already a group of various distinct subjects), 2) foreign language studies and 3) career technical education – “should” belong to the same category and substitute one another.What can be more obvious than the fact that such grouping has no merit?
ADDING ADDITIONAL COURSES WITHOUT CONSIDERATION OF ALREADY EXISTING FISCAL DEFICIT: Proposed Bill AB 2446 irresponsibly aims to institute additional Career Technical Education (CTE) courses that will require additional significant financial resources ($880,000-$1,500,000) that greatly lack at the moment, due to the current Budget Deficit.
MISTAKEN PROJECTION OF ENROLLMENT IN CTE COURSES:
Despite stated in the initial version figures that show actualsignificantly diminished enrollment in Career Technical Education courses (through the comparison of several past academic year’s data), the Bill AB 2446 mistakenly projects that CTE enrollment would have 3-5% increase in the upcoming years.
If (?)Career Technical Education should be determined to be a good fit to qualify for the High School Diploma in General Education, it mayNOT come at a cost of choosing over the school subjects that are universally considered to be essential and fundamental for general education for relevant reasons.
Additionally, those of us who had the privilege to experience powerful impact of engaging with Music and the Arts practices do not need to be convinced about their great transformational and educational power.I trust that for many of you it is obvious that the Arts Education provides vital balance of rounded whole-brain education (that High School Diploma ought to symbolize), offering unique opportunities to foster higher cognitive mental skills development and enrichment that no other educational discipline can replace.
Although, those leaders of our community who were not lucky enough to have such personal opportunities for acquiring more advanced brain structure that affords natural engagement into the Arts and Music practice, may not be allowed to institute educational policy that robs the next generation of learners of better developmental opportunities. Our community leaders should not disregard widely available multiple research studies, that show that engagement in Music and Arts practices during childhood is not a mere luxury, but contrary the Arts and Music practices are vital evolutionary adaptation that vastly contributed to the survival and evolutionary development of human civilization. And that is why, systematic experiential opportunities, designed in the form of Arts education curriculum, must continue to be actively present in the lives of children, in order to manifest as their own evolutionary acquisition.
Research-informed curriculum policy is the only option that will finally steer CA public schools out of the current crisis, and it must reflect plentiful data that proves that systematic engagement in Arts and Music practice has profoundly positive effect on child’s brain growth and development. (Please, refer for details to educational video “Music Instinct”, produced for PBS by neuroscientist Daniel Levitin and renown musician Bobby McFerrin.)
Advanced mental skills that only Music and the Arts education is capable to afford are the very attributes that are becoming more and more vital, in order for the future workforce to remain competitive in the fast-changing World.That is exactly why the approval of the Bill AB 2446 is simply equal to the hidden betrayal of our country’s vital national interests.
Furthermore, the Arts and Music education is considered to be integral part of “essential educational standards” in most of other developed countries.Due to the stated above reasons, my description of the current landscape of music education during my advocacy-related presentation under auspices of the upcoming 29th World Conference for Int’l Society for Music Education (ISME) in Beijing may be considered to be a joke or a funny anecdote by the prominent colleagues of mine from all over the World. Please, help me avoiding such major embarrassment at the Int’l Forum of ISME, the oldest Int’l Music Education Organization – PLEASE, STRONGLY OPPOSE THE CURRENT VERSION OF BILL AB 2446.