More arts teachers but fewer resources at New York City schools

Posted on: August 19, 2010

Tuesday (8/17) on the New York Observer website, Cora Lewis writes, “New York City public school principals have hired 139 new arts and music teachers over the past three years. Good news for students returning to school Sept. 8, right? In fact, according to the Center for Arts Education, a watchdog group, while the hiring of arts teachers has indeed inched up, spending on arts supplies, such as musical instruments, theater costumes, crayons and construction paper, decreased by 68 percent, or $7.2 million, since the start of the 2006-2007 school year. Spending on partnerships with cultural institutions has fallen by 31 percent. So while the number of arts teachers is up, the means for doing their job have been slashed. Advocates for the arts argue that the decrease in spending is the result of a larger problem in the school system: increased (and understandable) pressure on principals to allocate resources for test prep and improving math and literacy scores, at the expense of a well-rounded education. … From 2004 to 2009, the number of arts teachers has increased by 14.5 percent. But nearly 20 percent of city’s roughly 1,600 public schools still lack a certified arts teacher in even one of the four arts disciplines: art, music, theater and dance.”

Posted August 19, 2010