Arts in Eduction
On April 17, 2009 Community Board 5 draft a letter to Mayor Bloomberg and the Members of the New York City Council urging them to provide dedicated funds for the arts in education.
Dear Mayor Bloomberg and Members of the New York City Council,
As we know from the NYC Department of Education’s own assessments, 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% of schools have no certified arts teacher on staff, less than half of middle school students are provided with the minimum state arts requirements, and only 8% of elementary schools are even in the position to meet minimum state
requirements in the arts.
The elimination of Project ARTS – an initiative that secured a minimum level of arts education through dedicated funding making possible essentials like art supplies, hiring art teachers and valuable partnerships with cultural organizations– has made a bad situation a dire one.
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. As new, stricter graduation requirements are being implemented, it is imperative that all students receive at least the arts education they are guaranteed by law bolstering their chances of graduation.
Without the guarantee of dedicated funding for arts education, the opportunity gap will only continue to widen.
Regardless of changes in elected leadership, school governance or the economy, we must have a structure in place to guarantee that all children can meet minimum standards for arts in the schools.
To that end, we are urging you and the City Council to create a dedicated funding line for arts education – an essential step in ensuring every child receive a quality education that includes the arts.
Richard Kessler, The Center for Arts Education
Michael Mulgrew, United Federation of Teachers
Billy Easton, The Alliance for Quality Education
Don Fann, Learning Disabilities Association of New York City
Kim Sweet, Advocates for Children
Associated Musicians of Greater New York, Local 802 AFM
Chung-Wha Hong, New York Immigration Coalition
Cynthia Nixon, Actress, Public School Advocate
Jennifer March-Joly, Citizens’ Committee for Children
Jonathan Hollander, Battery Dance Company
Sondra Forsyth, Ballet Ambassadors
Kathleen A. Christie, Brooklyn Arts Council Arts in Education
Kyra Sedgwick, Actor
Claire Yeoman, Children’s Museum of the Arts
Barbara Fisher and Richard Spiegel, Ten Penny Players
Idina Menzel, Actor
Marisa Suescun, Coro New York Leadership Center
Dorothy Savitch, Brooklyn-Queens Conservatory of Music
Theodore Wiprud, New York Philharmonic
Julianna Margulies, Actor
Janine Nina Trevens, TADA! Youth Theater
Elizabeth Halverstam, Arts Horizons
Hjördis Linn-Blanford, American Tap Dance Foundation
Caryne Hayes, Careers Through Culinary Arts Program
Hazel A. Younger, Community Board 16, Brooklyn
Phyllis Cohn, Music for Many, Inc.
Kyra Popiel, The Town Hall
Karina Collado, Riverdale Neighborhood House
Diane Wilson, Community Board 9, Manhattan
Theresa Scavo, Community Board 15, Brooklyn
Peter Nicholas Trump, The Town Hall Foundation
Laura McManus, Museum of Biblical Art
Susan Goldbetter, Circuit Productions, Inc.
Tara Sansone, Socrates Sculpture Park
Joanne Bernstein-Cohen, The Little Orchestra Society
Young Playwrights, Inc.
Susan Fenley, Sundog Theatre
Nellie Perera, Henry Street Settlement
Joanne Zipay, Judith Shakespeare Company NYC
Andrea Crawford, Community Board 9, Queens
Annette Esposito, Community Board 2, Staten Island
David Siesko, Community Board 5, Manhattan