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Open Access Publications from the University of California

How Colleges Can Work With Schools


Reform efforts in public elementary and secondary schools are taking either of two directions: increased state control and accountability through high-stakes tests or market-style competition through tuition vouchers and school choice. Yet many of the most influential reform efforts in the past decade have been those that recognized the larger universe to which public schools belong. For example, the University of California ArtsBridge program brings university arts students into K-12 classrooms where the arts have been eliminated as a result of budget cuts. ArtsBridge both supports university students in the arts through scholarships and provides hands-on arts instruction for K-12 students. Arts instruction is targeted to local needs and often ties to other content areas. If universities were to count outreach activities more heavily in promotion and tenure reviews, university faculty might play a strong role in re-energizing K-12 education.

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