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Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - Pacific Access Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)



First Advisor

Lois N. Harrison

First Committee Member

Fred Muskal

Second Committee Member

Robert Halseth

Third Committee Member

Bobby R. Hopkins

Fourth Committee Member

Crystal Tilton


The purpose of this study was to provide a descriptive, historical view of the origin and development of a specific coalition of arts education associations in California. The literature pertaining to political action by interest groups revealed effective strategies and lessons learned. Seven (7) commonalities for effective political action by interest groups were identified in order to analyze the politicization of the Legislative Action Coalition for Arts Education (LACAE). In the early 1980s, the increasing financial crisis for California's schools combined with diminishing opportunities for students to receive education in the arts as a part of their basic education. These devastating elements were motivation for the rise in visionary leadership that led to the emergence of LACAE. The maturation of LACAE was described by tracing the history of the organization and three selected issues: a legislative requirement for one year of visual or performing arts for high school graduation; assessment of arts programs included in the California Assessment Program (CAP) tests; and, development of a political action network. Discussion of each issue was presented from data in LACAE files, minutes of meetings and personal interviews. Analysis of the Coalition's politicization using the seven (7) commonalities produced mixed results. The annual conference to develop the Legislative Action Plan yielded goals and objectives that represented a broad base of support among arts associations and provided a vehicle for clear communication. LACAE was less successful, however, in the effort to broaden its base of support beyond arts associations and in establishing an effective communication network for responsive political action.



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