As it turns out, business leaders hiring the workforce of tomorrow don't want applicants who are really good at filling in bubbles on standardized tests.
Creativity is key, more than 1,500 executives said in a 2010 survey.
Yet California, like many states, long ago deemed creative arts a luxury, one that few schools could afford.
And so, with the backing of business, state officials have formed Create CA, a statewide initiative they hope will restore art in schools, so that paintbrushes and even pirouettes are once again as important as No. 2 pencils.
The idea is to bring together those who have labored independently for arts education. Participants want to pass legislation, increase funding and raise public awareness.
Those behind the effort - including artists, educators and executives - believe California now has enough supportive policymakers and the right mix of corporate backing and political will for the idea to succeed where similar efforts have floundered.
Gov. Jerry Brown wants it. State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson wants it. Business leaders and politicians want it. Nonprofit groups focused on the arts want it and are lined up to help.
Parents have always wanted it, but have had to depend on parent groups like the PTA to pay for most of the arts programs still in schools.
"Right now - and this is an ugly truth - art is kind of going to those who can afford it," said Kris Murray, executive director of Northern California's Young Audiences, which funds artists in schools. "The current system is not good enough."