I am calling on the City to take an important step to restore quality arts education in New York City’s public schools.
Having been a teacher and working with children, I saw for myself what they can do in the area of art education and the value of art in the classroom particularly in Community School District 27.
The NYC Department of Education’s assessments show that the City’s public schools are not meeting state requirements for arts education. Hundreds of thousands of New York City public school students do not have access to arts education – visual arts, music, dance, theater – in their classrooms, despite State Law requiring a specific number of hours in arts be taught throughout a K-12 education. In fact, according to the NYC DOE, nearly 30 percent of schools have certified arts teacher on staff, less than half of middle school students are provided with the minimum state arts requirements, and only 8 percent of elementary schools are even in the position to meet minimum state requirements in the arts.
Ensuring that every child receives a quality arts education is important to me for the following reasons:
I agree with Mayor Bloomberg that, “arts instruction is essential to a high quality education.”
Learning in the arts connects to a wide array of social and academic benefits.
Education means developing a creative, critically thinking mind that can meet the challenges of the 21st Century.
A well-rounded education leads to better job opportunities and enhances the ability to compete in a new, global marketplace.
Arts are a critical part of New York City’s civic engagement, culture and economy.
National studies show that the arts not only motivate kids to learn more; they also keep youth in school and graduating on time. Unfortunately, data provided by the NYC Department of Education shows that schools with the most low-income students offer the least arts education. Currently, new stricter graduation requirements are being implemented, and it is imperative that all students receive at least the arts education they are entitled to by law supporting their chances of graduation. Without the security of dedicated funding for arts education, the opportunity gap will only continue to widen.
We must have a structure in place to guarantee that all children can meet minimum standards for arts in the schools. To that end, I am urging the City Council and the Mayor to designate a minimum amount of a principal’s budget to be spent on arts education – an essential step in ensuring every child receive a quality education that includes the arts.