Editor’s notebook: Where the teacher retention crisis, arts advocacy and future workforce intersect

Editor’s notebook: Where the teacher retention crisis, arts advocacy and future workforce intersect
by Alexis Muellner, Tampa Bay Business Journal Aug 20, 2022

Arts and music in the curriculum aid in students’ motivation and attendance and when students graduate, Tampa Bay’s workforce strengthens, Tampa Arts Alliance Executive Director Michele Smith told the Business Journal.

The Alliance’s August Arts Advocacy campaign is part of an ongoing initiative to advocate for arts inclusion, funding, and prominence as an economic driver for Florida. In Florida, non-profit arts organizations generated over $1 billion in revenue. In Hillsborough County alone, the annual economic impact equates to 12,000 jobs, data from the Americans for the Arts & Economic Prosperity Study 5 shows.

This week’s TBBJ cover story explores the challenges Hillsborough County Schools is having in retaining teachers and the impact it could have on the region’s future workforce. Superintendent Addison Davis (pictured) is making a series of appearances to build awareness for a campaign to support a 1% increase to its millage rate, which would bring in $145 million over four years, primarily allocated for teacher pay.

As an example of the current road show, he spoke at the Alliance’s event in early August at the Tampa Museum of Art. It was an opportunity for the community to engage in conversation and voice preferences with a policy maker and learn more about non-profits supporting arts and music education in schools, Smith said.

At the event, Davis shared information about the proposed referendum and tax assessment that would improve wages and invest in arts, music and physical education; Smith said,

The nonprofit Alliance does not take a position on the referendum itself, but the conversation was “informative and enlightening,” she said.

“This month’s campaign shines a light on an opportunity to voice support for the arts with our votes, to ask questions of candidates and demonstrate a commitment to the arts,” Smith said. “We were pleased that leaders of the business community showed up to this discussion and participated,” Smith said.


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The Tampa Arts Alliance is a nonprofit 501©3 established in 2021 as a catalyst and convenor of arts advocates dedicated to making Tampa a city known for excellence in the arts.

For more information, please follow us on Facebook at @TampaArtsAlliance.